‘That’s on TikTok, not our menu’: Starbucks baristas can make viral drink orders but need time and patience

Bianca Ruiz, a Starbucks barista, said three weeks ago a 12-year-old customer ordered a drink called “orange passion sunrise.” Ruiz has worked at the Granada Hills location in Los Angeles for over a year but had never heard of that drink. It also isn’t on the Starbucks menu. 

When Ruiz told the customer the drink isn’t on the menu, the customer replied “Duh, it’s from TikTok.” 

Ruiz told USA TODAY the rise in unique orders comes from the recent trend on TikTok where users list out ingredients others should order. The list of ingredients creates these “orange passion sunrise” or “Twix” drinks not included on the menu. 

Although the TikTok-inspired drinks require more energy and time to make, Ruiz doesn’t mind the requests. She said as long as customers are respectful and patient with the longer wait times, she’s happy to make the drink.

Ruiz even dedicated videos on her TikTok account to show what goes into creating the viral drinks. She sees the new trend as a “fun challenge” at work. 

However, not all baristas have the patience for the recent trend. Michael Banks quit his barista job two weeks ago at a Starbucks in Chicago as more and more customers ordered off-the-menu drinks.

Banks said dozens of customers would come into the store with a long list of ingredients they found on a TikTok video. Not only were the drinks complicated and time-consuming to make, Banks said half the time the customers weren’t satisfied with their drink. 

“It became too much. Every other minute someone ordered a drink with over ten ingredients that we’ve never used in just one drink,” Banks told USA TODAY. “As a barista, you get into the rhythm of making drinks on the menu and this new trend messed that up. I always tell them that’s on TikTok, not our menu.”

Banks said the TikTok-inspired drinks also take ingredients away from regular orders, such as mochas and cold brews. He said the week the Disney Plus series, WandaVision, was released, hundreds of customers ordered a TikTok recipe inspired by the show.

These TikTok- and show-inspired drinks created longer lines, frustrated customers and exhausted baristas, Banks said. 

The last straw for Banks came when ten people in a row ordered off of a TikTok recipe and the last customer complained about the appearance of the drink. 

“The customer pulled up their TikTok and said it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to and asked me to re-do the drink. After using so many of our ingredients meant for something else,” Banks said, “I just realized I didn’t have the patience for these drinks.”

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Ruiz, who works at a Starbucks located inside a Target, said most baristas become frustrated with the TikTok trend when it “sucks up” ingredients and focus from regular drinks. 

The frustration from baristas comes when customers are impatient or rude when explaining their orders. Ruiz said some customers expect baristas to stay up-to-date with the latest viral drinks which isn’t always the case.

“Despite some of the inconveniences, as long as a customer is respectful we’ll be happy to make the drink. People shouldn’t feel scared to ask us to make a viral drink. Just do it nicely and wait a bit.”

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