Trumbull officials deny TikTok video’s claim Starbucks workers were told to work faster to ease line

Cars are lined up at the new Starbucks Drive-Thru at 965 White Plains Road in Trumbull, Conn. on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Cars are lined up at the new Starbucks Drive-Thru at 965 White Plains Road in Trumbull, Conn. on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — A TikTok video has gone viral because of the poster's claim that a town commission passed a resolution ordering Starbucks employees to "work faster" in an effort to control the drive-thru line at the White Plains Road location.

Although they concede that the backed up line does create a problem in town, town officials said no such resolution was ever passed.

The video, posted on the TikTok app on Nov. 5 by a user with the screen name Everyday Engineering, shows the poster standing outside the Starbucks on White Plains Road in Trumbull and gesturing to the long line of cars waiting at the store's drive-thru window.

"This (Starbucks) has been in the news quite a bit because of how bad the drive thru line is," he says in the clip. "During busy periods and, even right now, the line only holds about 15 cars." He went on to describe how the line can spill out onto the main road nearby.

The poster, whose name is Adam Weber, added that the town of Trumbull has decided to address the problem, not by "reconfiguring the drive-thru to make it more efficient" or closing the drive-thru altogether, but by putting the burden on Starbucks employees.

"They voted on and approved a resolution to simply order the Starbucks workers to work faster," Weber said.

But Trumbull's first selectman and a member of Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission both said no such resolution was made nor would the commission have the authority to do so.

"Honestly, it's ludicrous," said Planning and Zoning Commissioner Tony Silber.

The video references a Trumbull Times article detailing a Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in 2021 at which the Starbucks drive-thru line was discussed. One commissioner, Anthony Chory, suggested having people place their orders, then pull out of line and wait for someone to deliver to their car.

“What I would like to recommend is that we write them a formal letter saying that we feel they are not adequately moving people through the line, and during peak hours they should develop a plan to allow people to put an order in and move head in the line to deliver to relieve the backup on White Plains Road and in the parking lot,” he said, according to the article. “I think they could do that. It doesn’t have to be a redesign of the parking lot. It could be just having extra people, during peak hours, figuring out a way to move people quicker.”

Silber said this week that no resolution was made on the subject.

"We don't have the authority to do that," he said, adding that no letter was ever sent either.

First Selectman Vicki Tesoro also said no resolution was ever made telling Starbucks workers how to do their jobs.

"No resolution was ever proposed, presented, voted on, or otherwise approved," she said. "A suggestion was made by Commissioner Anthony Chory, who no longer serves on the Commission, to request that Starbucks develop a plan to redeploy personnel in a way that would address the backup during peak hours. The discussion made clear that it was a request and not an order, and no mention was ever made of making the Starbucks employees work faster."

Starbucks representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When reached via email on Monday, Weber said he was not available for comment.

"However, I can let you know that I received word from the Town of Trumbull today that although they did draft a letter to Starbucks, they ultimately never sent it as it was deemed inappropriate (and rightfully so!)," he said, in the email.

Although he denied what Weber said in the video about the commission's actions, Silber said one aspect of the video is correct — the line outside the Starbucks is a concern. 

"We’re happy that they’re successful," he said, adding that "We would like to see (traffic) managed in a way that reduces that line."