Categories
Drinks Fast Food Sweets What's New

Starbucks Becomes First Major Chain To Include Star Fruit On Their Menu

Also known as the carambola, star fruit has long been a favorite to incorporate in both sweet and savory dishes in various parts of the world. Native to Southeast Asia, you can find it in juices, stewed into desserts, or even steamed alongside fish.

Starbucks is now taking this fruit and converting it into a set of drinks that just joined their permanent menu.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks, star fruit imagery from Marco Verch // Flickr, CC 2.0.

The new Kiwi Starfruit Refresher incorporates star fruit flavored juice and kiwi pieces, serving them over ice. There’s also a “Star Drink” form that adds coconut milk, akin to the previously viral Pink Drink.

In the United States, the star fruit is already quite popular in south Florida, where it’s become a commonly cultivated tree. For those who have never tried them, they have a slightly sweet taste with some hints of tartness and sourness.

The launch of these new drinks makes Starbucks the first major chain to add star fruit to a nationwide menu.

Categories
Design Fast Food

Stunning Starbucks Tokyo Shop Features Office-Style Design

Photo courtesy of Starbucks Japan

I’ve spent a third of my workdays writing from various Starbucks locations throughout Southern California for the past decade, and there will definitely be times where it’s tough to focus.

Between the morning rush, high school youths ordering their daily Frappucinos at 3:05 pm, or that one individual who takes up an entire table to charge all their electronics with a power strip can often make it difficult to concentrate.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks Japan

A Starbucks Location in Tokyo just opened that is a dream workspace for anyone trying to regain their focus.

In a collaborative partnership with Think Lab, creators of innovative workspaces throughout Japan, the Starbucks located inside the Circles Ginza building features a Smart Lounge that’s a remote work wonderland.

The second floor of the coffee store features a plethora of single workspaces sectioned off for semi-privacy.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks Japan

There’s also a Smart Lounge area for collaborative meetings that contain projectors and privacy for teleconferences.

Those meeting in groups can reserve group tables or solo working areas through the Think Lab smartphone app. At the same time, they wait for their coffee order. Each reservation can be placed in 15-minute increments.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks Japan

Think Lab utilized research to create an optimal environment for concentration through plants, natural sounds, temperature/humidity, lighting, and original aroma.

While quite a few similar Starbucks locations have popped up in the US, it’s safe to say none have entirely embraced this workflow. Here’s to hoping this catches on with US Starbucks operators!

Categories
Drinks Health

NO MASKS, NO SERVICE: Starbucks’ New Rule For Customers Starts July 15th

Starbucks just updated its policies for how the coffee chain plans to continue to serve customers through the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest additions is that the company will introduce a face mask requirement for all customers entering their stores.

The new policy, which goes into effect July 15th, marks a significant change of language from how Starbucks previously approached face masks. Previous language asked customers who came into stores to wear them, but did not require them to have one to gain entry.

Baristas have, and will continue, to wear facial coverings while in stores.

During a time when face masks have been questionably politicized, Starbucks is taking an informed stance on safety recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19 while folks are picking up coffee, beverages, and breakfast.

These changes also come as some states have begun to reopen both indoor and outdoor dining, with safety precautions, for customers. However, as COVID-19 cases have resurged across the United States, several areas have re-closed indoor dining operations.

For those who still object to wearing face masks but still want Starbucks, delivery, curbside pickup, and drive-thru orders are alternative options to going inside. This is only available, however, “at select locations where a local government mandate is not in place,” according to the new policy.

Categories
Fast Food News

Starbucks To Pay Employees, Regardless If They Work Or Not


In an unprecedented response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks has announced that they will be paying its U.S. and Canadian employees for the next month, whether they work or not.

“No Starbucks partner needs to choose between their health and coming to work,” the company said in a letter to employees.

Even under lockdowns occurring across the country, Frappuccinos and Lattes were deemed essential during this pandemic crisis, and kept the chain’s doors open.

That didn’t sit well with Starbucks employees, as they kept their doors open and still had fairly unchanged interactions with customers.

Many voiced their displeasure with the company’s initial move to let customers in the store, and additionally, letting employees work up until they felt they had the virus symptoms.


In response, Starbucks is now drive-thru-only for two weeks, where applicable, and even letting those employees stay home if need be, until April 19.

As far as employees of closing stores that don’t have the benefit of being drive-thru, Starbucks is extending its “catastrophe pay.”

Starbucks’ catastrophe pay is in place for emergencies, and is meant to protect employees during natural disasters, and in this case, pandemics.

Things had reached a boiling point, with many Starbucks employees drowning Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and anywhere they could voice their concerns with cries to close the store completely.

If you’re wondering why the heck anyone would come into work under these new guidelines, well, Starbucks also announced that working employees will be earning an additional $3 per hour than normal.

There’s still a debate about how “essential” Starbucks is at this time, but they’ve certainly done more to protect their customers and employees than any other major chain during this pandemic.

Categories
Fast Food

What Fast Food Restaurants Are Doing In Response To COVID-19

With Coronavirus news changing daily, little by little, our favorite bars, cafes, and mom-and-pop restaurants are all closing down, leaving us with the option of fist-fighting grocery shoppers for a pack of chicken, or taking our chances on a fast food restaurant.

A good amount of the larger quick-service restaurants have the luxury of staying open in this time of crisis, and a lot are taking more precautions than usual.

With the widespread uneasiness, it’s understandable to feel that going anywhere is a risk. Our favorite restaurants know this, and are doing their best to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

We can confirm that restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks have all vowed to increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitation.

Each restaurant’s statement is a little different, but they all communicate some form of:

“We are closely monitoring and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), to ensure we are doing our part to keep you, our staff, and our communities safe.”

If you have gone to any fast food spot, there’s a good chance the employees are sporting latex gloves for your protection and theirs. Honestly, even that little wrinkle helps put your mind at ease.


Depending on your area, all of these restaurants also deliver to some capacity, with some offering pick-up options while dining rooms closures have become standard protocol. And of course, the drive-thrus are still open, allowing them align with the CDC’s advisement of keeping groups of people to 10 or less.

Chick-Fil-A has a practice of handing out physical menus to customers at the Drive-Thru, but that has been eliminated to keep interactions at a minimum.

KFC, Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and Del Taco are not only delivering, but as of now, those deliveries are free. Blaze Pizza’s delivery is free through Postmates and Door Dash through March 22.

Del Taco’s delivery is free through Postmates with the code: DelTacoNow.

Chipotle’s free delivery will run until March 31 using their fancy new Delivery Kitchen that includes a tamper-proof seal on your food and the ability to watch your driver’s route.


Now, KFC’s delivery is going above and beyond, being available until April 26. The order minimum is $12 and can be ordered through their site or Grubhub.

While most restaurant statements have mentioned employee safety being a priority, Starbucks really made sure to reiterate that they’re putting their “partners” AKA employees, first. Starbucks said their employees, “…Never have to choose between work and taking care of themselves.” Which aside from limiting social interactions, also means that if partners feel ill, they can take time off, and if that means that they have to relocate healthy employees or even temporary close down a store, that is what they’ll do.

Starbucks has also extended their “Catastrophe Pay” program, which is usually offered to partners during hurricanes and/or flooding. Partners will be given up to 14 days pay if affected by COVID-19. That time is in addition to possible sick pay, vacation pay or PTO that is normally offered.


So there are extreme measures that fast food restaurants are taking, and rightfully so. Any time you step out of your door, there’s risk, but it’s good to see that measures are taken to try and keep consumers and employees safe.

But above all, remember to have compassion toward any and all employees. While some Americans can work from home or have the luxury of taking time off to stay home in these times, restaurant employees are helping keep essential food businesses running.

Categories
Fast Food

Starbucks Quietly Debuts Breakfast Burritos Nationwide

Starbucks is tailor made to be a go-to breakfast spot, what with their coffee, bagels, and pastries. Now they’ve added a menu item that was a glaring omission for some time, and seems like an obvious acquisition.

A breakfast burrito.

Starbucks just added a Bacon, Sausage and Egg Wrap, and a Southwest Veggie Wrap, making sure to please both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

While they’re called “wraps” there’s no question these are breakfast burritos. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a breakfast burrito.

The meaty breakfast wrap contains bacon, sausage, cage-free scrambled egg, cheddar cheese and even sous vide potatoes, all within a flour tortilla.

The veggie version opts for a bright red “salsa tortilla,” with eggs, black beans, sous vide potatoes, pico de gallo, jalapeno cream cheese and cotija cheese nestled within.

Believe it or not, they’re decently priced at $5.45 per burrito in Southern California, and are a little bigger than you’d expect.

They’re definitely not as girth-y as Chipotle’s burritos, but aren’t as small as your typical frozen burrito. They sit somewhere in between, and we’re here for it.

As far as flavor, they could use some salt, or a dab of your favorite salsa, but they’re not terrible by Starbucks standards.

Like most foods at Starbucks, they are pre-packaged, so don’t expect the fresh experience of a handmade burrito, but they’ll do the job when you’re short on time and want a quick breakfast burrito fix.

Categories
Fast Food Plant-Based

Starbucks Launches A Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich In Canada

Plant-based proteins are finally making it onto fast food breakfast menus and as a breakfast lover who’s unable to eat meat for the next few months, I couldn’t be happier to have another morning option that isn’t fruit or oatmeal.

After flocks of customer requests to add more diverse protein options to the menu, Starbucks locations throughout Canada will be releasing a Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich early next week. Next week, Beyond Meat fans up north will be able to sink their teeth into these meatless breakfast sandwiches.

The Beyond Meat, Cheddar, and Egg Sandwich is made with a 100% plant-based Beyond Breakfast Sausage comprised of ingredients such as soy, peas, brown rice, and gluten. Paired with a fried egg, and a slice of cheddar cheese, the sandwich is loaded between two slices of English Muffin.

While meatless, the new breakfast sandwich isn’t truly vegan — as it still contains egg and cheese. The chain, however, says all you have to do is take the egg and cheese off upon ordering to get that full vegan effect.

Look for this new sandwich at all Starbucks locations across Canada beginning March 3.

Full disclosure, I own a share of Beyond Meat.

Categories
Fast Food

Starbucks Intros A Blacked Out ‘Phantom Frappuccino’ For Halloween Season

Starbucks has no problem dishing out colorful Frappuccinos, but this time they’re foregoing the color palette for something a bit darker.

Their latest drink creation is called the ‘Phantom Frappuccino’ and is covered in activated charcoal powder to give it its spooky black look.

Fans say it has a fruity flavor, which is probably not what you’re expecting from such a dark drink, but its ingredients include mango flavoring, coconut milk, and a dark green drizzle made of spirulina extract, lime, and lemon juice.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Starbucks España (@starbucks_es) on

Most of the promotion for the drink has been spotted around European Starbucks’, but there is at least one Boston location that promoted it, so there’s a chance it’s coming stateside, as well. It’s hard to tell as Starbucks likes to keep these type of launches secret until the morning of, which in some locations has already happened, but other locations are rumored to debut it this weekend.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Zara Broadbent (@zarabroadbent_sw) on

Reaching out to multiple U.S.-based Starbucks sources, it seems they have not received any ingredient shipments for a Phantom Frappuccino, but we can still hold hope that it shows up at some U.S. locations, while looking at the U.K. with jealous eyes.