Starbucks and How To Jump the Queue - Or Not?

Submitted by nigel on Tuesday 6th October 2009

During 2007 I practically lived in a Starbucks concession near Green Park in central London. I was busy developing a website and could either get a terminal dose of cabin fever developing at home, or get out and about and work in Starbucks where I could interface with other human beings and use the store's WiFi. The human interaction option won over and the shop practically became my office. That particular store was hand-picked and its precise location is a closely guarded secret. The staff were ultra-friendly and tolerated me being around all the time, they had more sofas per square metre than any other shop I have encountered, and miraculously it was seldom busy which would have rendered concentration impossible.

However, during peak hours around lunch time an orderly line would grow both up to the sales assistant who took the orders, and the serving area where customers would wait for their drinks to be served up.

By sheer serendipity I discovered a quick way of getting my drink. It only works with the default filter coffee - Americano - which thankfully is my favourite. I noticed that when I ordered an Americano, the sales assistant wouldn't write my order down and pass on a chit to the coffee making staff. No - she would serve me directly with no further waiting.

This was a boon, particularly when you've got an unguarded laptop 20ft away in a London cafe!

My circumstances changed, and I frequented Starbucks less and less, but whenever I did pop in, my Americano trick always worked a treat.

Then last week I visited the St Ann's Square branch in Manchester. There was a long line waiting for coffee. No problem I thought, I'll order an Americano. But DISASTER! My trick no longer works, and I had to wait 5 minutes for my drink to be served up. Is this a change in policy? Or just a one-off? Can anyone from the company shed some light on this? Anyone else noticed this change? The world must be told!

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