Starbucks baristas say some stores are experiencing shortages of cups, syrups, and more

Starbucks baristas say some stores are experiencing shortages of cups, syrups, and more
Fernando Vergara / AP
  • Starbucks employees say stores are suffering shortages of some products.
  • The global supply chain has been upended as a result of COVID-19.
  • Experts predict shortages will continue through at least the rest of 2021.

Starbucks employees say some stores are experiencing shortages of key products and ingredients including cups, flavored syrups, and baked goods.

Reports of the supply issues come as Starbucks grapples with a shortage of oat milk, which the coffee chain added to menus last month.

A Starbucks barista in Alabama told Insider that her store has run out of stoppers for hot drinks, in addition to oat milk. Some days the store just doesn't "get any shipments, and we're operating on the bare minimum," she said. The barista and other Starbucks employees interviewed for this story asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, but their identities were verified by Insider.

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A Louisiana-based barista said his store is also experiencing an oat milk shortage, along with a low supply of cups and flavored syrups - specifically caramel and vanilla.


Starbucks baristas say some stores are experiencing shortages of cups, syrups, and more

Calls to a dozen Starbucks stores across the US on Wednesday revealed shortages of baked goods and syrups. Brown-sugar syrup, part of the popular new Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, was out of stock at more than half the stores consulted by Insider.

"Customers could almost never order this drink with all its components intact" in the month since its launch, the Louisiana employee told Insider.

Starbucks confirmed Wednesday that some stores are temporarily out of oat milk, but said there is not a national shortage. The coffee chain did not respond to a request for comment on shortages of other items.

Many other companies are currently grappling with shortages. The pandemic has caused massive disruptions to the global supply chain, leading to shortages of toilet paper, Peloton bikes, computer chips, and even ketchup. Shutdowns and delays at ports have led to longer wait times and spikes in prices, and Starbucks isn't immune.

There's also a materials shortage caused by shuttered or delayed factories, which affected Starbucks' oat milk supplier Oatly, and companies have struggled to properly estimate demand as a result. These factors have collectively created the "perfect storm" for shortages and delays in the shipping industry, according to a UBS note.


Experts are predicting that supply chain disruptions could continue through at least early 2022.

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