The Types of People You See in Starbucks

By Christina Kim - March 23, 2015

This is the place where they serve handcrafted beverages and caffeine-loaded drinks (or sugar-loaded) and they charge well, way beyond your usual average cup you can get anywhere else.
Perhaps it may even be a good idea to brew your own cup at home, to save that few dollars if you want.


So what makes people stride into this international chain graced by a stylishly designed icon of a siren as a logo, flocking the line to place their orders for their favorite cuppa?

The environment
The prestige of being actually able to afford a beverage at Starbucks?
The brand
The free wi-fi
The cool factor of the café
The availability of power sockets to charge electrical devices
The place where their friends hang out

There could be many reasons one frequent Starbucks; including yours truly who is a regular café goer herself as of late and these many reasons bring together that interesting crowd who form the daily population at this international chain of a café.

I have my own reasons for enjoying my regular sessions at this global coffeehouse chain among a few others of my personal favorites too, and my time here has also brought me to the point of recognizing (and doing a bit of mental organizing myself) the types of people who make up the regular patronage.
I am no expert definitely, but it suffices to say that the observation, while not absolutely conclusive, is still definitive to a certain degree.
(After all, I am part of the crowd myself too, ain’t I?)

So here goes, my very own list of the people I have seen and observed to frequent (or perhaps, as you say, 'hang out' at Starbucks?) :-

1.  Students
Yes, not surprisingly, this is the most common group who are Starbucks’ loyal fan base. They comprise of mostly college students (they are the ones with the better pocket allowances anyway) who are often here for discussions, writing their papers and finishing their assignments, studying, and in critical need of space, quietness, free wi-fi and electrical sockets to charge their laptops, handheld and mobile devices all at a go. They are easily identified with their Jansport backpacks or folder in their hands, and they usually come in groups as small as two to three persons, or in fives or sixes. Of course, they are also occasionally spotted alone, and these would be the ones with earphones and constantly texting on their phones, while balancing their attention between the screens of the phones and their laptops, or even their textbooks.
Usual orders would usually be frappucinos, or something that would sound really fancy and long, and top that with whipped cream please.

2.  Working people
They are the ones you see dressed in formal office wear, toting a classic laptop briefcase, a slingbag or a slim and sleek laptop backpack (usually black). They would sit by the sides, if there are available spots and always in front of a laptop, typing furiously with that recognizable frown on their foreheads while doing that. They seem really busy most of the time, and their looks are of the serious, all-business that you would not want to mess with. Perhaps that is their way of distracting others from disturbing them in their little corners, where they are probably on social media browsing on their friends’ latest baby photos of those enviable picturesque shots from vacation and they don’t want you to know that. No, because they are in their professional looks, and they are supposed to be in the office, or maybe they don’t have a real office space. Either way, they are supposed to be at work during the official working hours, and they want to look that. You are not allowed to think otherwise, because the frowns and their constant obsession with their phones are testimonial to that.
These are the serious coffee guys; usually lattes or whatever that ends with the suffix –cino in it.
Most of their drinks would probably be the more expensive stuffs, and they won't mind the sizes, or the differences in that few dollars with the upgrade.
They mean business.
Oh, and they will be staying for more than 2 hours definitely, so you might wanna check out other tables if you are hoping on that electric socket they are connected on.

3.The Meetup Folks
These are the ones who are there to meet up with their friends, or some clients. Probably the typical insurance agents, job agencies if they mean business, or some blind dates, old friends who have not met for decades (depending on the way they scream and hug when they arrive, for some it seemed like centuries from the frequency of their voices and that hug that could almost knock you over if you are sitting right there), and maybe an ex (just saying).
The business category looks more solemn and almost always curt and courteous; they are after all, engaged in supposedly a more serious tone of discussion and the distance is kept at an obvious gap to clearly tell you they are not that close or familiar with each other.
The ‘long lost’ category would always be huddled together closely, speaking in such highly excited pitches and of course, animated expressions.
The blind dates and probably exes, are the ones who strike that balance in-between the two groups earlier, seemingly courteous yet there is that sense of familiarity.
Don’t worry, they will not end up sealing their meet up with marriage or a fight, so either way you are still safe if you are nearby, although you may want to turn your attention away from their conversation in case it gets too personal to your liking.
It’s always the iced drinks; Americano, or anything that’s chilled from the display. Vitamin water, bottled juices, or anything that’s new on the menu, they will be the ones trying it out.
You will always find one with an iced drink on the table for this group.

4. The Everyday/Seasonal Regular
Every business or café loves them! Why ever not?
These are the people who come willingly each and every day, or even that regular intervals to offer themselves to be ripped off by the cafes (just kidding!)
They know what they want, they have their favorite spots, the guys know their regular orders and smile at them and they don’t even need to order. Just flash a smile and their orders are already keyed in.
You won’t hear a word uttered throughout their exchange at the counter, except, Thank You (you might have missed the hello and good morning, because you are so used to their standard greeting of “Hello, Welcome!”)
They are loyal fans, and sometimes they even allow the coffee baristas to customize their drinks for them (what, you’re not aware they could do that? Ask and you shall receive).
These are the ones with mugs, with those tumblers and yes, definitely with the Starbucks rewards membership card. You don’t want to mess with them.
They definitely can customize their drinks and recite them in such a complicated order that you wouldn’t understand. You will never understand their bond with the coffee barista, but you can try, after visiting the cafes on regular rounds for at least a few weeks in a row or just be friendly with the coffee barista and you can be in this category in no time yourself!

5.The Gossip Group
These are the ones (not always ladies, there are guys sometimes too) who are always talking in excited varying tones. One minute they are whispering in husky tones, expressive in tone and speed and then you are giggling and then bursts of laughter. Silence follows and sometimes you could catch them glancing your way, just looking and then they begin chattering again. It makes you wonder if you are their next topic of target and there is just something that makes you conscious all of a sudden of what you are doing and what you were wearing, for absolutely no reason. That’s the effect from the gossip group.
There is no definite drink they have; it could be anything and they could be that “anything goes” or “I don’t know what I want to drink”. They seldom have laptops with them, usually mobile phones and they could be talking and then flipping their devices to share photos with each other.
Don’t try to understand them, and no, they are not talking or staring at you.
Don’t be surprised if you hear clicks of the camera from their phones, again, they are not taking photos of you, they are just taking their selfies, or perhaps wefies?

6. The Instagrammer/Social Media (Over)Enthusiasts
They were staring at their phones when they arrive.
They flip out their phones when they place their drinks in front of them.
They position their drinks, themselves and everything else around them. You hear clicks from the camera all the time, or even if they were quiet, you could just tell from the way they position everything around them. It goes in a sequence, move, click, then silence.
Oh, of course they were uploading to their Facebook timeline, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and the tons of accounts they were having.
Yes, these are the “in” crowds of today who contribute to the successes of the young millionaires of social media.
They are obsessed with the world of social media, and everything is photo worthy.
Oh, and they are always with the cool drinks; probably different drinks but definitely Instagram worthy.
“Oh look, this is the cool swirl on my macchiato, I love it! *lots of hearts*”
And of course, it's interesting that you had that latte today, and yesterday and the day before, and that frappucino definitely looks adorable from all angles, sweetie :-*
These are the ones you definitely want to promote your newly launched drinks/products because they just might be interested, for Instagram's sake? 

7.The Mobile Phone Folks/The Excessive Texters
Almost similar with the Social Media group, but these are the ones who are constantly typing furiously on their phones with both their hands. They order their drinks while they are texting, and barely glancing up at the menu, usually picking the simplest to go with. Then they sit in a corner, or somewhere with an electrical outlet (they need to charge their mobile phones with all that extensive usage) and they continue to text.
They hear their names being called when their drinks are ready, and their eyes are still glued to their phones as they walk over to collect the drinks. Some of the kind baristas would probably prepare everything for them so they won’t have to make a second round, and spend all that time responding to their texts.
You see them texting, all the time.
Their usual orders are also iced lattes, or anything that cold, just because it’s cool and less hassle, and it reduces of getting their hands burnt when they are not looking.

8. The Rush Hour Group
The office working crowd who comes in after lunch, to just have their gossip time and while their remaining time away before they go back to their offices. They come in groups, or twos, and order their drinks (usually americanos, lattes, and hot coffee) and they sit for roughly 30 minutes or so, right in the middle of the café (that’s where the remaining tables are left anyway) and just chat about work.

9. The Order and Go
They don’t care about your smiles, warm welcomes or where the electrical sockets are (maybe sometimes their eyes do wander to those usual spots, and when they are already occupied, these people end up in this category). They just want their drinks to take away and be on their way.
They don’t even so much as glance in anyone’s direction, they want nothing to do with anyone of you rooted to your seats in the café.
I repeat, they only want their drinks and their orders to go with them.
They probably have their own tumblers too!

10. The Reader/Writer
These are the ones who are just too focused, always immersed in a book or their stares are transfixed on the screens of their laptops or iPads, while their fingers are furiously typing at the keyboard. These are the author wannabes, they seem to always be writing or typing something and you can just keep hearing the taps on the keyboard.
No one talks, no human voice audible throughout their time, except maybe an occasional pause and muffled mumbling – only tap tap tap*
The reader always have a chilled drink; and drinks from the straw because they don’t look up.
The writer (or type-writer) always have a mug of hot drink (latte, coffee, tea), because it’s just typical of writing when they need to pause and touch that handle on the mug.
Sip on their drink while they pause to think, put it down and back to the typing.

11.  The Observer
This is the one who orders a drink (or maybe something to bite on) and then sits there, watching people. I kid you not, they will just be staring at anyone who walks in and goes to their tables, or gets up and walks out.
They do not look like they are positioned there just to look at people of course, and usually they could be disguised as the mobile phone group, the working group who would stare at their laptops, but they are observing you. They are checking out every single person who walks into that cafe; what you’re wearing, what you’re drinking, and goodness knows what else.
Stalker-like, but they are harmless, really, well, I think so, no?
They are also with the typical chilled drinks, americanos, fruity drinks, and they are the ones likely to get another drink when they are done with their first.
After all, they need something to go on while they check out more of the crowd, don’t they?

There goes, just something from my observation and no, I am not in the last category, though I sound like one simply because I came up with a list like this.

Typically people would compile a list in standard numbers of fives, tens but I went with an odd number of 11, but well, it could be more since this is only based on my own perspective.

So, which are you?
Unless, of course, you are totally not into Starbucks, then this is totally irrelevant, and please give me some time to run my case study in another café? J

Just for thought and humor, and you might have other opinion yourself, do drop me a note if you do, or if you would like to share your very own experiences in other cafes you frequent?

Note to Starbucks:
There, Starbucks, I have just compiled a simply analytics of your regular customer base and even the types of drinks they are often spotted and most likely to have.

Time to plan your marketing strategy perhaps?

Disclaimer: This is not conclusive nor definitive, and just based on my personal observation, so no offense meant to any party.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like