Starbucks customer reveals why you should never go inside to order when the drive-thru line is long

The Image Party/ShutterStock @__ericamerica/TikTok (Licensed)

‘It’s a trick’: Starbucks customer reveals why you should never go inside to order when the drive-thru line is long

‘Made us wait 30 minutes going inside.’


Jack Alban


A Starbucks customer and drive-thru devotee swears that no matter how packed a drive-thru line looks, going inside of the store will almost always take longer. In a viral TikTok video, she says folks should stay the course in their vehicles and stick it out in the car queue.

Erica Giles (@__ericamerica) posted a video arguing for her point that’s resulted in 2.4 million views on the popular social media platform.

In the clip, she times how long it takes for her to receive her beverage as she waits in the long drive-thru line. She urges people to simply sit in their cars instead of ordering inside of the store, arguing that every time she enters the store, she has to wait around 30 minutes for her order and she is left with “no WiFi” because the location has a tin roof that blocks cell phone signals to her device.

“Never go inside of Starbucks if you think the drive-thru line is too long. It’s a trick!” Giles says, before showing the length of the drive-thru line at her local store. “This is the line okay, it wraps around the whole building. It’s very long. And I always try to tell people no matter how long the drive-thru line is, it’s gonna be quicker than going inside.”

Giles starts her timer at 10:40 am when she enters the drive-thru line. She says if she went inside the building it would take thirty minutes.

“So that would put us at 11:10,” she says. “But I think I’m gonna be in and out of here, 10-12 minutes? So let’s test it.”

A minute later, Giles reveals the progress that has been made in the car queue packed with patrons patiently waiting to buy their coffee.

“All right a minute has passed and we’re one, two, three, cars from ordering,” she shares. “I would bet you all the money in my bank account, which might not be a lot, but I would bet all of it, that if I went inside, and I ordered, I’d be sitting there, waiting. With no WiFi, because they have one of those little tin roofs so you don’t get signal. I’d just be waiting and waiting and waiting.”

She chronicles the next minute of her drive-thru experience showing her slowly inching toward the ordering speaker. “10:42 we’re moving, we’re moving people,” she adds.

Two more minutes pass before she’s ultimately able to place her order in the drive-thru with staff members at 10:44 am.

Giles also records herself placing an order for a “grande Iced Shaken Espresso with coconut milk,” which may have only been a portion of her order because her total comes out to $14.26. The camera then cuts to her cackling into the camera and holding her pointed, painted fingernails to her face. She then points out that the time hasn’t changed and it’s still 10:44.

“Literally still 10:44, we’re about to pay b*tches,” she laughs.

After four minutes, she’s one car away from receiving the items she’s just ordered.

“10:51 b*tches,” she says as she records herself enjoying her brew into the camera lens, before clicking her tongue after drinking it. “The only reason why it took that long was because they forgot my cold foam. So they had to add that. Literally ten minutes! So quick! Never go inside again!” she shouts a final time to close out the video.

Giles drives the point further home in a caption for the video, writing: “NEVER GO INSIDE STARBUCKS IF YOU THINK THE DRIVE THRU IS TOO LONG!!!!! ITS A TRICK!!!!! STAY IN THE DRIVE THRU!!!!”

According to a Medium post, the average Starbucks wait time inside of a store is “around 4.5 minutes,” with the article’s author claiming they’ve never waited for their drink longer than 5 minutes in the store.

However, this perspective might be coming from their patronage at a particular location, as there are other folks, like this one Redditor, who said they’ve waited around 20 minutes for their orders on several occasions while visiting the popular coffee chain.

TheStreet also published an article on average Starbucks wait times, which featured data from analytics firm Technomic. According to the outlet and research group, the average wait time for a Starbucks order is around 5 minutes, suggesting that longer or shorter wait times largely depend on the number of orders that are pouring into a location, the number of items in these respective orders, and the efficiency of staff members currently on shift at any given time.

@__ericamerica NEVER GO INSIDE STARBUCKS IF YOU THINK THE DRIVE THRU IS TOO LONG!!!!! ITS A TRICK!!!!! STAY IN THE DRIVE THRU!!!! #starbucks #drivethru #coffeetiktok #coffeeaddict #coffeelover #icedcoffee #espresso #coffeelover ♬ original sound – erica giles

One commenter who responded to Giles’ video said that drive-thru employees are usually prioritized over in-store shoppers, giving credence to the TikToker’s theory. If you want to get your coffee sooner, then maybe sticking in the drive-thru is the way to go. “It’s true as a barista we focus on drive times so we try to get you in and out the drive thru,” they said.

This sentiment was echoed by other viewers.

“Yeah managers at every fast food place are obsessed with the drive thru times they’ll basically neglect walk up orders,” one wrote.

Another remarked, “They prioritize drive thrue than cafe customers…. Ex barista here.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Starbucks and Giles via email for further comment.

The Daily Dot