Interview

17 Starbucks Barista Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a Starbucks barista, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Starbucks is a household name, and with more than 27,000 stores in 77 countries, it’s safe to say that a Starbucks barista is a common fixture in most people’s lives. If you’re looking for a job in the customer service industry, a Starbucks barista interview may be in your future.

The questions you’ll be asked in a Starbucks barista interview will vary depending on the position you’re applying for, but most will focus on your customer service skills. You may also be asked about your coffee knowledge, your experience with making coffee drinks, and your availability.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve put together a list of common Starbucks barista interview questions and answers.

Are you a morning person?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your work ethic. They want to know if you are willing to start early and stay late, as many Starbucks locations have long hours of operation. Your answer should show that you’re committed to working hard and getting the job done.

Example: “I am definitely a morning person. I love starting my day with a cup of coffee and some quiet time to reflect on the day ahead. I find that this helps me get ready for whatever challenges await me at work. I’m also more energetic in the mornings, so I can be an extra help to my coworkers and customers.”

What are your favorite drinks to make and why?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you a little better and see what your interests are. It also helps them determine if you have experience making their company’s signature drinks. When answering this question, try to include some of the most popular drinks that Starbucks offers along with one or two specialty drinks.

Example: “I really enjoy making frappuccinos because I love experimenting with different flavors. I’ve made so many unique combinations over the years that it’s hard to pick just one favorite. Another drink I like is the caramel macchiato because it’s easy to make but still has a lot of flavor. My favorite specialty drink would probably be the white chocolate mocha because it’s sweet without being too overpowering.”

How do you handle it when a customer is unhappy with their drink?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and whether or not you have the ability to diffuse it. When answering this question, try to focus on your problem-solving skills and highlight how you use them to make customers happy.

Example: “I once had a customer who ordered a venti caramel macchiato with extra foam. They were upset when they got their drink because there was no foam at all. I apologized for the mistake and offered to remake the drink for free. I made sure to add more foam than usual so that they would be satisfied with their next drink. This helped me resolve the issue quickly and keep the customer happy.”

What is your experience with making espresso-based drinks?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your experience with making espresso-based drinks and how you can apply that knowledge in this role. Use examples from previous work experiences or include information about any training you’ve received on making espresso-based drinks.

Example: “I have two years of experience working as an espresso barista at a local coffee shop, where I learned how to make all types of espresso-based drinks including cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and more. In my current position, I am responsible for creating specialty drinks like the caramel frappuccino and other seasonal beverages.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to be creative in order to resolve a customer issue.

This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach challenges and solve problems. Use examples from your previous experience to highlight your creativity, problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to unique situations.

Example: “In my last role as a barista at a coffee shop, I had a customer who ordered a hot chocolate but wanted it with extra marshmallows. Unfortunately, we were out of marshmallows that day, so I had to come up with an alternative solution. I ended up using some crushed graham crackers to make the marshmallow topping instead. The customer was happy with the result, and they even took a picture of their drink and posted it on social media.”

If a customer orders a venti caramel macchiato, what would you do if they asked for it “extra hot”?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of the Starbucks menu and how you would handle customer requests. When answering this question, it can be helpful to refer to the official Starbucks menu for reference.

Example: “If a customer asked for their drink extra hot, I would first make sure they understood that the drink will get hotter as it sits in the cup warmer. Then, I would heat up the milk on the stovetop until it was steaming before adding it to the espresso shot. This ensures that the drink is still hot when the customer gets it.”

What would you do if a customer asked you a question about one of our drinks and you weren’t sure of the answer?

This question is a great way to determine how you would handle an uncomfortable situation. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have the confidence and knowledge to answer any questions that customers may have about our drinks or menu items. In your answer, be honest about what you would do in this situation and explain why you feel confident enough to answer customer questions even when you don’t know the answer.

Example: “If a customer asked me a question about one of our drinks and I wasn’t sure of the answer, I would politely tell them that I didn’t know but would find out for them as soon as possible. I would then go to my manager or another coworker who might know the answer to get some help. I always make it a point to learn as much as I can about our products so that I am prepared to answer any questions from customers.”

How well do you handle stress while working?

Working as a barista can be stressful at times. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to handle stress and remain calm while working. In your answer, share how you manage stress in general and how it affects your work performance.

Example: “I find that I am able to handle stress quite well. When I’m stressed out, I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that everything will be okay. This helps me relax and focus on my work. If there is too much going on around me, I try to step away from the counter for a moment to collect my thoughts. I also like to talk with other employees about what’s stressing us out so we can help each other.”

Do you have any experience working with inventory management systems?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with inventory management systems and how you might use them at Starbucks. If you have experience using an inventory management system, share what kind of software or database it was and how you used it to benefit your previous employer. If you don’t have any experience working with inventory management systems, you can explain that you’re willing to learn new systems if necessary.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different kinds of inventory management systems in my past roles as a barista. At my last job, I used a point-of-sale system to track our daily sales and customer purchases. This helped me understand how to use inventory management systems to keep track of supplies and monitor which products were selling well.”

When preparing a drink for a customer, what do you do if you notice that the milk or syrup levels are low?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle customer service situations. Your answer should show that you are willing to go above and beyond for customers, even if it’s not your job to do so.

Example: “If I notice a drink is low on syrup or milk, I will ask another barista to prepare a new one while I continue making the current order. This ensures that the customer gets their drink as quickly as possible without having to wait longer than necessary.”

We want to ensure that our customers receive the freshest drinks possible. How would you encourage customers to either take their drink “to go” or wait for a fresh batch?

This question can help the interviewer assess your customer service skills and ability to make recommendations. In your answer, try to show that you value quality over quantity and are willing to educate customers about how they can get the freshest drinks possible.

Example: “I would recommend waiting for a fresh batch because I know it makes a big difference in taste. If someone is in a rush or doesn’t want to wait, I would encourage them to take their drink to go so we could ensure it stays cold until they’re ready to enjoy it.”

Describe your experience working with POS systems.

POS systems are a common feature in many retail environments, including Starbucks. This question allows the interviewer to assess your experience with technology and how you might use it to benefit their business. In your answer, describe any previous experience working with POS systems and highlight any specific skills or knowledge that may be relevant to this role.

Example: “I have worked with several different POS systems throughout my career, but I am most comfortable using Clover. I find that it’s easy to navigate and provides me with all of the information I need to complete transactions quickly and accurately. I also enjoy learning new things, so I would look forward to taking advantage of training opportunities if they were available.”

What makes Starbucks stand out from other coffee chains?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the company and its unique selling points. You can highlight a few things that make Starbucks stand out from other coffee shops, such as their commitment to ethically sourcing beans or their rewards program.

Example: “Starbucks stands out because they’re committed to ethically sourcing their beans. They also have one of the most generous rewards programs in the industry, which encourages customers to return more often. I think these two factors are what makes them so successful.”

Which Starbucks drinks have you made the most? Which ones do you wish you could make more of?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your experience level and how you feel about making certain drinks. It can also give them insight into what kind of barista you are, as well as which skills you have developed over time. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention some of the more challenging drinks that you’ve made in the past and how you overcame any challenges with them.

Example: “I find that I make the most iced coffee drinks and frappuccinos. I enjoy making these because they’re fairly simple and straightforward, but I do wish I could make more cold brews. I’m still working on perfecting my technique for those.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a Starbucks barista to have?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the skills and abilities needed for this role. You can answer by naming a skill, explaining what it means and giving an example of how you use it in your work.

Example: “The most important skill for a Starbucks barista to have is customer service. This job requires us to interact with customers all day long, so we need to be friendly and helpful at all times. I always make sure to greet customers as they come into the store and ask them if there’s anything I can help them with while they’re waiting for their order. I also pay attention to their facial expressions and body language to ensure that I’m meeting their needs.”

How often do you think a barista should clean their station and equipment?

This question can help the interviewer determine how much attention to detail you have and whether your cleaning habits are similar to those of other baristas at their company. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of keeping a clean workstation and equipment, but also that you know when it’s appropriate to do so.

Example: “I think it’s important for baristas to keep their stations and equipment clean throughout the day. For example, I would wipe down my station after every drink I made or if there was a spill. However, I wouldn’t wash all of my equipment between each drink unless it got particularly messy. If I noticed that my equipment needed more thorough cleaning, I would take care of it during my scheduled breaks.”

There is a long line of customers waiting, but you’re not sure about the ingredients for the drink order in front of you. What do you do?

This question is designed to test your problem-solving skills and ability to stay calm under pressure. Your answer should show that you can prioritize tasks, think quickly and communicate clearly with customers.

Example: “I would first apologize to the customer for the delay and explain why it’s taking longer than usual. Then I would ask my manager or another colleague who knows the ingredients of the drink in front of me if they could help out. If there are no other options available, I would try to remember what the customer ordered so I can make sure I get all the right ingredients when I start making the drink.”

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