Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Starbucks' Frappuccino Happy Hour starts Friday with a drink that's 'better' than the Unicorn — and baristas are dreading it (SBUX)

Starbucks' Frappuccino Happy Hour starts Friday with a drink that's 'better' than the Unicorn — and baristas are dreading it (SBUX)
By Kate Taylor


Baristas who hated the Unicorn Frappuccino are about to enter a new stressful cycle as Starbucks prepares to launch its annual Frappuccino Happy Hour promotion. 

On Tuesday, Starbucks announced that it is launching its Frappuccino Happy Hour on Friday, with the promotion lasting from May 5 to 14. During the promotion, the coffee chain will sell half-priced Frappuccinos from 3-6 p.m., encouraging customers to purchase the icy blended drinks as the weather warms up. 

"Frappuccino Happy Hour is going to be a huge home run this year," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a call with investors last Thursday. "We're going to bring at least one entirely new drink into Happy Hour this year that is going to be as good as Unicorn or better. And we've extended our hours this year on some other tactical things to really make sure that Happy Hour is set up for success."

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The new flavor that's promised to be even better than the Unicorn Frappuccino is the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino — a layered drink made with extra-dark cocoa, mint sugar crystals, and whipped cream. Starbucks said in a statement that it drew inspiration from the "dark foods trend," with foods like black macarons and charcoal ice cream going viral on Instagram.

The popular S'mores Frappuccino is returning for Frappuccino season. Both the S'mores and the Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino are available starting on Tuesday, May 2. 

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While Frappuccino lovers will rejoice at the news, many Starbucks' baristas will likely be less than thrilled by the extended hours, new drink, and renewed emphasis on the time-intensive Frappuccino.  

If you're a Starbucks employee with a story to tell, email ktaylor@businessinsider.com. 

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no one talks about quitting work more than starbucks baristas during a promo or frappy hour @Barista_Life_

Last year, the Starbucks blog Barista Life published an article titled, "A Baristas Worst Nightmare: Frappuccino Happy Hour." 

"You can begin to see the horror in their eyes," Haley Hinds writes, recalling her coworkers' faces in the moments before Frappy Hour starts. "Although they try to make it look like it’s easy, I think deep down, no matter how many times you have been through this, you are truly never prepared for what is coming."

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I can wait for Frappy Hour ☠️🍔 #BaristaLife pic.twitter.com/Nxf6ERR0qB

Starbucks baristas are already taking to social media to emotionally prepare themselves for the hectic promotion. 

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starbucks is trying to kill its partners. first the unicorn frap and then frappy hour around the corner??? do you want everyone to die???

The success of the Unicorn Frappuccino and more new drinks on the menu could lead to more customers than in past years. While that's great news for Starbucks' sales, it means baristas will be cranking out even more messy and difficult-to-make beverages. 

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Today my manager asked me why I don't like frappuccino happy hour... pic.twitter.com/57RS1EIfHE

One barista has a solution that would encourage Starbucks to keep baristas happy while increasing Frappuccino sales. 

"New idea, with every Frappuccino promotion Starbucks ... partners get payed time & half for it. How about it?" posted Twitter user @SeagullDan_.

Starbucks has long pledged to work to better employees' lives, with benefits such as free college tuition and an emphasis on baristas being a part of "something bigger." With baristas' angst in the era of the Unicorn Frappuccino, perhaps it is time for those perks to include a Frappy Hour bonus. 

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May 2, 2017 at 09:24AM
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