Starbucks follows TikTok-inspired drinks

TIC Tac given Starbucks a taste of his own medicine.

The chain that turned regular filter coffee into half a $ 5 coffee, extra whipped cream mocha latte is now working to produce dozens of bizarre concoctions dreamed up by the influential stars of the social media site.

They include a Caramel Triple Threat – a cold brew with caramel syrup, sweet vanilla cold mousse mixed with dark caramel and a drizzle of caramel – and a pink matcha drink including the refreshing strawberry and strawberry drink. chain acai with green tea powder and sweetened cold foam added. Their complexity lengthens the lines and drives baristas crazy.

The Starbucks logo is displayed on a mug and bag at a Starbucks store in October in San Francisco, California. Recently, social media influencers came up with their own recipes to try at Starbucks. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / Getty Images)


“It’s a little exhausting,” said Roger Huang, a Starbucks barista in Buffalo, NY, who said he took pride in his ability to pump what workers call TikTok drinks.

Drinks treats the Starbucks menu less like an array of drinks and more like a buffet of ingredients to be mixed in unorthodox ways to create off-menu drinks that can list 10 distinct customizations on the side of the mug.

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Intensely Personalized Beverages focus on one mainstay of Starbucks – the ability of customers to tailor any beverage to their tastes – and take it to the extreme.

Starbucks says that in addition to the beverage options listed on its menu boards, there are more than 170,000 ways baristas can personalize drinks. Starbucks announced its latest seasonal drinks this week, including Burnt Caramel Latte, Praline Chestnut Latte, and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha.

Anna Faber, a college student who posts on TikTok under “Annalovescoffee,” often promotes her own concoctions to her 107,900 subscribers. She recently featured one suggested by a barista: a cold Venti brew with caramel syrup and cold vanilla sweet cream mousse, apple brown sugar syrup, apple in the mousse and dolce to. cinnamon on top.

“It was very difficult to order,” she says in a video, after going through the drive-thru, then taking a sip and sharing the long list of ingredients written on the mug. Ms Faber, a 19-year-old from Michigan State University, said she had a free coupon for the drink, but said it would have cost $ 8 otherwise.

Social media users have dubbed their creations the “Starbucks Secret Menu” and viewed the hashtag “starbuckssecretmenu” on TikTok over 210 million times.

A Tik Tok logo displayed on a smartphone. (Thiago Prudêncio / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Restaurant owners say they don’t always understand the weird concoctions their customers order, but they love to trade. Mobile ordering apps have made it easier for customers to add a multitude of syrups or sauces.

Mexican Grill Chipotle Inc. has had customers who have ordered the “quesarito,” a quesadilla wrapped around one of the chain’s stuffed burritos. “Even that messy thing, we’ll do it for you,” CFO Jack Hartung said.

At Chick-fil-A Inc., fans invented “bowls,” a combination of chicken nuggets, fries, several chain sauces, and other menu items tossed into a bowl and then shaken. Some franchisees have added a “bowl” button to their order taking systems to respond to inquiries, the company said.

View of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in September in Rohnert Park, California. Customers invented their own bowls featured in the chain. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / Getty Images)

TikTok users debated the best combinations of sauces, including whether to stick with the chain’s signature sauce or add a ranch dressing with avocado and lime, as well as sriracha, buffalo and ranch.

“It’s even difficult for us to follow him,” said Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander.

Sarah Margaret Sandlin, a 20-year-old student at Clemson University, said she was paid by chains such as Wendy’s Co. and Mcdonalds Corp. to create or promote TikTok videos featuring their food. A spokeswoman for Wendy’s said the company provided her with gift cards and food deliveries, but she was not paid as a paid partner. McDonald’s declined to comment.

A video of Ms. Sandlin showed a recipe for what she calls a McDonald’s Snickers iced coffee, with chocolate syrup, chocolate caramel syrup, whipped cream and two caramel fillets added to a tall iced coffee.

Starbucks said it is trying to increase its workforce to handle the influx of labor-intensive drinks. He recently posted an in-house training video detailing what baristas should do when a customer posts a picture of a viral drink or requests a certain combination of ingredients. Michelle Eisen, an 11-year Starbucks barista who watched the video, said baristas should prepare it if they recognize the drink, while those who don’t should try to recreate it with customer help.


Drink piracy comes up against company policy: baristas are asked to prepare customers’ drinks within a specified time frame. The delay varies by region, but can be around a minute from when a customer stops to the drive-thru window.

The multiple ingredients are slowing down service, workers said, and adding to the challenges for already understaffed stores. Buffalo-area Starbucks employees including Ms. Eisen and Mr. Huang spoke about the work required by TikTok drinks among other concerns in their push to unionize Starbucks stores in the area.

Clemson University student Mrs Sandlin orders what she calls a Cookie Dough Frappuccino, which takes a Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino, a real Starbucks drink, but replaces the mocha with mocha and covers it with a drizzle of caramel and cookie crumble.

“Some of them will have five pumpkin pumps or five vanilla pumps,” Ms. Sandlin said.


Taylor Rippey, a 28-year-old foodie from Orlando, Florida, said she got nervous sometimes ordering concoctions she saw on TikTok at Starbucks. Workers have sometimes given her strange looks on her long ingredient lists, she said.

“But I think if it’s going to look cool and taste good, then why not?” Mrs. Rippey said. Her two favorite drinks at the moment are a Grande Mango Dragonfruit cooler mixed with strawberry puree, as well as a Venti Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade cooler, with a hint of peach juice and floating dragonfruit syrup.

This article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal

About Glenda Wait

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