A TikToker sparked a viral debate on Starbucks custom order trends that have been popularized through social media. Laschnella (@laschnell) said in her video that the popular coffee chain has effectively “stolen” drink ideas from creators throughout the years to add to their menu. She even suggested that there’s a racial component to what she deems Starbucks’ preferential selectivity as to what custom drinks are “honored” or not.
Her trending video is a stiched clip from another creator, @bdtrelilbrother, who asked in his video: “Why do restaurants be mad as fuck when TikTok make a food item popular?”
Laschnella stitched his video with a response to his question in the form of a story. She explained that she worked for Starbucks “in the heyday of the secret menu.”
“So, if y’all don’t know, the secret menu was a popularized menu from Starbucks that wasn’t official, but it was honored,” she said. “Like, if you brought in the ingredients, you knew what you wanted, it was honored.”
“But, the thing about the secret menu was a lot of those drinks were actually stolen from Asian creators who would create like really pretty drinks, overall,” she continued. One of the drinks Laschnella claimed was “stolen” is the Pink Drink, which was officially added to the Starbucks menu in 2017 after becoming popular on social media.
“So, when those types of drinks got popular, Starbucks immediately, immediately stole those drinks. They immediately put those on the menu as soon as they figured out how,” Laschnella said. “Now, these menu items that these Black people is coming up with, no they’re not. They’re not honoring it.”
@laschnell #stitch with @bdtrelilbrother I could be wrong, but it is an observation #food #foodreviews #keithlee #starbucks ♬ original sound – Laschnella
“[Is] it demographic control or am I being racy?” Laschnella asked in a text overlay.
Though Laschnella suggested in the comments section that companies are limiting item customization because “The chaos is not deemed worth it if the clientele isnt desirable,” viewers suggested it has more to do with how labor-intensive the items can be.
“A lot of the Starbucks secret menu items and TikTok drinks can take a while to make,” one user penned.
“People need to understand that these ridiculous trends take up so much time that fast food and restaurant workers don’t have,” another wrote.
Some said that not understanding the nomenclature of viral items can also gum up the works when they’re simply trying to keep the line moving.
“Tbh I don’t mind making secret menu stuff just please.. what’s in it. Some ppl just say a drink name and idk what it is or what’s in it,” one viewer commented.
Other users pointed out that baristas and other fast food employees may not like making trendy items because customers can get upset that the price tag is much higher because of all the adjustments.
“As a Starbucks barista it’s annoying to say whatever they named it bc we don’t know what it is and when we give you the price yall shook,” one user wrote.
“Cold Foam got these girls in a chokehold rn now. Like y’all know that’s another $1.25 on your $6 drink,” a second stated.
“I [never] complain to barista bout the price my friend said that a lot of people try to get refunds if they dont like their customized drinks,” another added.
The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and Laschnella via TikTok comment for further information.
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*First Published: Feb 12, 2023, 9:23 am CST
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.