Have you noticed that your Starbucks drive-thru order is taking a lot longer these days? Don’t blame the baristas: The reason for slower lines is that customized drinks have skyrocketed, and it’s difficult for baristas to keep up with that demand.
Customizable cold drinks now make up about 75% of Starbucks orders, and that means employees are working extra hard to keep up with all the substitutions and special off-menu orders.
But here is the good news: Starbucks has recognized that this is a growing problem at locations across the country, and the coffee chain announced plans to revamp their store designs to help keep up with the times during an investor event on Tuesday.
While store designs have stayed pretty standard in the last several years, the way we order coffee has not. Drive-thru orders account for 50% of Starbucks orders each day, and delivery orders have increased by almost 25%.
“It’s clear that our physical stores have to change,” Starbucks CEO John Culver said during the investor event, according to the Associated Press.
Enter the Siren System. Starting in 2023, the Siren System (named for the mythological creature in the Starbucks logo) will be a new workstation at Starbucks locations across the country. Starbucks says the Siren System is “a proprietary new equipment innovation designed to meet the growing demand for customization of hot and cold beverages and warm foods.”
“As part of the Siren System, Starbucks has redesigned its cold beverage station, which significantly reduces the time and number of steps to make cold beverages,” the company said in a press release.
In addition, Starbucks says they’re developing a new, faster way to extract cold coffee and espresso that it expects to test in stores in fiscal year 2023.
In the meantime, if you’re really in a hurry but need your Starbucks fix, here’s a tip: Go inside. Experts say that the fastest way to get your drink is by going inside to grab your order, because most people are queued up at the drive-thru. Even better, do a mobile order: This leads to fewer mistakes and less time waiting in line.
Last but not least, be patient. Remember, everyone is working as hard as they can under stressful conditions. Leave a tip if you can, but if not, a simple smile and “thank you” can go a long way!