China's Manner Coffee vowed to optimize store operation after clashes between baristas and customer
Published: Jun 22, 2024 02:26 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Manner Coffee, one of China's most popular domestic coffee brands, apologized on Friday night after a series of conflicts involving baristas and customers whose patience waned after waiting too long for their orders. The coffee chain vowed to reduce the waiting time and pay more attention to its baristas after overwhelming criticism over its intense workload placed on its employees.  

"We are deeply sorry for the recently conflict between our baristas and clients…the company is highly concerned about those incidents and apologized to our customers as soon as possible in addition to speaking to the barista," Manner Coffee said in a statement on Friday.

The statement came after three fights between baristas and impatient clients in recent weeks. In one of its outlets in coffee-addicted Shanghai on Monday, a customer expressed her dissatisfaction with waiting for too long and threatened to file a complaint. The female staff member, seemingly overwhelmed, lost her composure and poured coffee grounds on the face of the customer while shouting, "Go ahead, complain!"

Manner Coffee later confirmed that the female employee involved in the incident had been dismissed.

In a separate incident on the same day, a customer complained about the long wait time for their order, and when the staff member suggested canceling the order, it ignited dissatisfaction among customers, culminating in a verbal dispute and a physical altercation.

The police intervened, the staff member has apologized to the customer, and they have reached a settlement.

The incident has sparked heated discussion on social media as many questioned whether the rapid expansion of Manner Coffee is at the sacrifice of its baristas. 

In one of the most liked comments under Manner Coffee's statement on Sina Weibo, a comment reads like: Manner is growing fast. Increase employee's salary; arrange time reasonably and increase work staff, all those costs yet they help long-term development. Hopefully Manner don't be short-sighted.

Manner Coffee has rapidly expanded in recent years and currently has 1,295 company operated stores nationwide, according to media reports. It is often referred as strong rivalry of Starbucks in China due to its growing popularity and cheaper price. 

However, media also reported that Manner allocates staff according to the performance of the store. For daily sales below 5,000 yuan ($688), only one person is assigned to the store, while for daily sales of 6,000 yuan and above, two people are assigned. In comparison, Starbuck, Luckin Coffee and other coffee chains in China normally allocate three to four people at the store, according to Jiemian.

In the statement issued on Friday, Manner Coffee said it will optimize store operation arrangements to minimize customer waiting time; and enhance customer satisfaction. Moreover, it vowed to strengthen daily care for baristas, keep communication channels open for baristas, improve their work comfort, and pay attention to their health.

Global Times