Starbucks Fired Faculty Pupil For Viral Buyer TikTok
A 19-year-old University of Notre Dame student was fired from Starbucks for a viral TikTok joking about how he and his staff wanted to respond to discerning customers.
Eli Servais said he didn’t think his release was warranted, but he would “do anything [his] Views and likes for [his] Job back ”now.
A Starbucks representative told BuzzFeed News that while the company has “deep respect” for its employees, “it is expected that partners create a respectful, safe and welcoming environment.”
Servais’ TikTok, which was released in September, was a sketch montage in which he jokingly but aggravatedly responded to customers who routinely correct their orders.
In one example, an employee playing a customer returns a cold drink and says, “I wanted this hot,” and Servais replies, reaches for the drink, “I’m so sorry” and throws it behind him. In another example, the person playing the customer says, “Oh, I wanted extra whipped cream,” and Servais fills the drink with enough whipped cream to make it froth.
Servais told BuzzFeed News that he and his staff at Starbucks in Mishawaka, Indiana, simply thought it was a “fun” TikTok.
“There were no customers. We were closed or about to close so we were just having fun, ”he said. “Nothing was broken or destroyed.”
The TikTok had roughly 400,000 views and 60,000 likes before Servais turned it off, he recalled.
Servais said that in October, about a month after he posted the TikTok, a Starbucks district manager came to speak to him about it. “I’ve excused myself [to them] and stated that this was in no way trying to harm the company, ”said Servais. “I took [the TikTok] immediately down. “
He republished it last week and it went viral again before deleting it a second time. He asked BuzzFeed News, which had seen the full clip, not to release it in full for fear of further repercussions.
But right after the meeting, Servais said he had received a “break-up letter” from Starbucks dismissing him as a barista with immediate effect. A letter to BuzzFeed News said he has “demonstrated behavior inconsistent with Starbucks mission values by posting content on Tik Tok that shows partners mocking customers [sic] Orders, drinks out the window and fanned out money from the cash register. “
Servais said he was really sad. He loved working in this place and had a good relationship with his staff.
“I felt like I was too good at my job to be fired for something this small. I was very disappointed, ”he said. “I really enjoyed working there … If I could take it back, I would. I liked my employees and my managers. “
Servais said he went back to the district manager to plead his case for a hiring and try to “explain it.” [his TikTok] wasn’t as bad as they’d imagined. “Servais said the district manager” didn’t really bother and sent me to see someone else. “
Servais then reached out to someone at Starbucks headquarters who said he was eligible to be reinstated, but not in the same district. He said he was still unemployed and hadn’t heard from his status or from Starbucks employees since January.
A Starbucks representative confirmed that Servais has been fired and that he is eligible to be hired. Servais said he had not received clear instructions on how to formally challenge his dismissal and be reinstated. When asked about these steps, the Starbucks representative declined to comment and instead referred to the company’s statement on the matter.
“We have great respect for every partner [employee] in our company and the experience they have had with us, ”said the Starbucks representative. “At the same time, partners are expected to create a respectful, safe and welcoming environment while wearing the green apron.”
Servais ultimately said he doesn’t “hate” Starbucks and would still like to be hired again. He believes he was picked for a joke on TikTok – jokes about working at Starbucks that he said are quite common on the app – and has been reprimanded too harshly.
“People sent me TikToks from other people [making Starbucks jokes]which upset me for taking such tough measures against me, ”he said. “I don’t hate Starbucks and I loved working there. I was just very upset about how they treated me in the breakup process – I didn’t know it was coming and I didn’t expect it to happen. “