Starbucks Makes Barista History, Bans The Dreaded Clopen Shift


The New York Times reports that Starbucks Coffee will change its scheduling policies, effectively putting an end to the “clopen shift” for their partners forever. This means no more 10PM closing shifts followed by a 4AM opening shift, a familiar scenario for baristas and service employees colloquially known here in the United States as a “clopen” (a portmanteau of the words “close” and “open”).


The Times talked to Starbucks group president Cliff Burrows, who had more to say on their scheduling policy changes:

He specified that all work hours must be posted at least one week in advance, a policy that has been only loosely followed in the past. Baristas with more than an hour’s commute will be given the option to transfer to more convenient locations, he wrote, adding that scheduling software will be revised to allow more input from managers.

The changes came in response to an article on Wednesday in The New York Times about a single mother struggling to keep up with erratic hours set by automated software.

That article, “Working Anything But 9 to 5” created a furor of angry comments such as:


This is a fascinating story, not only because of the Starbucks policy change, but because it’s living proof of the power and efficacy of reasonably angry comments on the internet. To that end, we ask, is scheduling for baristas a problem in your town? Sound off in the comments below.


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  4. Jim says

    From what I can recall, it wasn’t allowed in general, everyone was supposed to have 8 hours between shifts. I mean I worked clopens once in a while but it was usually because someone was sick etc

  5. says

    Or you could, you know, give your employees a consistent schedule every semester, and schedule a month in advance. We’ve done that for years with nary a problem. I’m always confused as to why more shops don’t do it.

  6. Anon says

    For comparison, my employer (a roastery/cafe) closes the store on Sundays, giving everyone, including our front bar baristas, a day off. This is much to the ire of our community patrons, who have repeatedly requested in person (and complained online) for open hours on Sunday. We would certainly be flooded with business on Sunday, bringing in more income for our business and maybe creating an extra position to boot, but we’re all of the mind that taking a day off is good for our health and sanity, despite the forgone income and dire wailing of the uncaffeinated masses. Cheers to a slower lifestyle. Maybe Sunday can be brew-at-home day.

    • Matt Rose says

      Not that long ago, it was unheard of for anything but essential services to be open on Sundays (and no, coffee is not exactly an essential service!)

      I think “Brew-at-home Sundays” is a great idea!

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