Why Is Starbucks Always Out of Food?

Starbucks Store

You might have seen the “sold out” sign on many items at Starbucks. It doesn’t matter whether the supply chain or high demand is the problem, but it hurts when you are craving food. 


There are many reasons why Starbucks is always out of food, such as:

  • Dependency on vendors.
  • Global supply chain disturbance.
  • Complex menu.
  • Store locations.
  • Sudden high demand.

Since Starbucks has become the favorite place for coffee, beverages, and pastry lovers, the company needs to address why it is facing food shortages worldwide and whether it will become stable in the coming time.

That’s why we have collected the reasons behind this problem.

Reasons Behind Starbucks Food Shortages

Closed Starbucks Cafe

Out-of-stock items at any food chain refer to dishes or ingredients not currently available for the kitchen to prepare due to a lack of inventory.

There could be numerous reasons a Starbucks store might be out of a particular item; let’s have a look at them individually.

1. Starbucks Depends on Its Vendors

Starbucks focuses on its expansion in terms of sales and branches instead of producing ingredients on its own.

They source many of their food items from external suppliers, and if there are issues with the production or delivery of these, it could lead to shortages at the store level.


Did you know Starbucks does not have its own products except Frappuccino and Reserved dark chocolate mocha?

They mimic other’s successful food items to make a profit from them.

2. Global Supply Chain Disturbance

Various factors, such as natural disasters, trade disputes, political instability, or technological failures, can cause supply chain disturbance.

This problem has significant consequences for businesses and economies worldwide. They can lead to delays in the production and delivery of goods, increases in the cost of items and services, and reduced profits.

In 2019, due to the COVID breakout, the world supply chain was disturbed, and brands are still facing its consequences. Similarly, Starbucks also has to deal with this global issue which makes it run out of food.


Back in April 2021, Starbucks removed the dairy option from its menu due to a shortage of oat milk all around the globe.

3. Complex Menu

Starbucks Coffee Menu Book

Starbucks has made its menu complex which leads to storage very often.

For example, they have more than 12 types of Frappuccino on their official menu, and each of them requires plenty of ingredients. If any of them are missing, they have to shut down that food item temporarily.

Additionally, more products make it difficult for them to maintain the budget and inventory.


Starbucks has more than 32 combinations of chocolate drinks only. Moreover, this brand looks confused regarding specialization, whether it is a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a bakery.

4. Store Locations

Starbucks is a popular brand and a dream place for every coffee lover, so having stores in a busy vicinity can cause food shortages.

Most of its branches are located in busy areas near bus/train stations, commercial territories, offices, banks, and universities.

People used to have breakfast and lunch at Starbucks while going in and out for work because it provides an authentic taste in each product. Hence, due to immense flow, things get out of stock quickly.


In 2022, there were 35,711 Starbucks locations globally, but this number is still insufficient given the expanding consumer base.

5. Sudden High Demand

The dramatic increase in demand can also be a reason for food storage. For example, suppose there is a sudden hike in desire for a particular type of coffee bean. In that case, Starbucks may have to temporarily limit the availability of certain menu items made with that bean until it can secure a sufficient supply.

Similarly, if there is a sudden surge in demand for a particular food item, such as a seasonal drink or a new menu item, you may have to face the “sold out” sign.

Events can also be responsible for this; whenever snow falls in the U.S., Starbucks runs out of its hot beverages.


Starbucks Coffee Shop

Considering the demands and the festivals to come, Starbucks used to take necessary actions before the day came to prevent shortage, but a gap still that needs to be covered.

In this article, we have seen the major reasons behind the food shortage at Starbucks, and you now have a better understanding of why it is always out of food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Starbucks Out of Sandwiches?

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson admitted that they face shortages of breakfast sandwiches because of rising costs and supply chain disturbance.

Will the Shortage Affect the Availability of Other Menu Items?

Yes! The shortage of a particular item can disturb the availability of multiple menu items in which that ingredient is used.

What Are the Problems Facing Starbucks?

The company is having issues with its supply chain and a scarcity of human resources. Additionally, its employees are organizing a union to protest the policies.

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