Starbucks’ CEO moonlighted as a barista. He burned his hand on a sandwich and had an egg bite explode in front of a customer — and now he’s making 5 key changes. – DAVID RAUDALES


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Starbucks’ CEO moonlighted as a barista. He burned his hand on a sandwich and had an egg bite explode in front of a customer — and now he’s making 5 key changes.

Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks’ new CEO, worked shifts at multiple Starbucks stores as he settled into the coffee chain’s top job.

Stephen Brashear/AP

Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan burned his hand while working at one of the coffee chain’s stores.The incident was one of several that Narasimhan experienced as he prepared to become CEO.Narasimhan’s trips to stores come as Starbucks employees are entering the third year of a unionization drive.

Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan spent part of his early months on the job working as a barista in the chain’s stores — and making the same rookie mistakes that many first-time employees do.

Narasimhan’s shifts at Starbucks stores included mishaps such as an egg bite that exploded when served to a customer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. On other occasions, the CEO also forgot how to process credit card payments at a register. He also burned his hand on cheese from a piping-hot sandwich, according to the report.

The experiences were part of a six-month period during which Narasimhan worked shifts at Starbucks locations around the US. At the same time, he was preparing to take Starbucks’ top job from Howard Schultz, who stepped down from the role in March.

“Having worked as a partner, it’s clear to me that there are things that we need to do,” he told the Journal.

In March, just after he assumed the CEO job, Narasimhan said in a memo to staff that he planned to continue working as a barista for half a day each month. Based on his experiences taking orders and making drinks, he said he saw an opportunity “for a refounding of Starbucks.”

Narasimhan’s trips to stores come as Starbucks employees’ unionization drive enters its third year. Employees driving the unionization effort have called attention to operational problems, such as an increasing array of complicated-to-make menu items and a simultaneous push to keep wait times low for customers, according to the Journal.

Some union organizers have criticized Narashimhan’s effort to work at Starbucks stores. In March, one posted on Twitter, now known as X: “I’d really prefer it if he stayed out of our way and instead spent 40hrs learning about worker’s rights and how NOT to commit thousands of unfair labor practice violations in a year.”

Starbucks has violated labor law, including by intimidating workers and firing those who attempted to unionize stores, rulings by National Labor Relations Board judges, reported by Bloomberg Law in June, show.

The new CEO has said little publicly to directly address the unionization effort. In February, predecessor Schultz said: “I don’t think a union has a place in Starbucks.”

Narashimhan has said that his shifts at stores have pointed to operational improvements that Starbucks can make, such as cutting down on the combinations of cups and lids.

Other key changes for Starbucks stores

He also wants to send more breakfast sandwiches to stores to avoid shortages and make packaging for Starbucks’ egg bites easier to open, the Journal reported.

Narashimhan also pointed to broader changes that are in the works, such as cutting the number of emails and messages that Starbucks’ corporate office sends to stores.

Starbucks has also increased staffing levels as well as pay and benefits for employees at its stores, according to the Journal.

Read the original article on Business Insider