Can You Have a Beard at Starbucks? (2022 Employee Facial Hair Policy)

If you’re lucky enough to snag employment at the country’s largest coffee chain, can you bring your beard along?  Yes! It seems coffee and facial hair go together like espresso and lattes.

You can have a beard at Starbucks as long as it is kept clean and well-trimmed. Long hair must be tied back to avoid contact with food and drink; similarly, you may be required to wear a beard net while working with food. Starbucks doesn’t have specific requirements regarding facial hair so the final determination will be made by the store manager.

Read on to find out the details of Starbucks’ facial hair policy!

Are Starbucks employees allowed to have facial hair, beards, or mustaches?

With Seattle, the home of Starbucks, consistently topping the charts of cities with the most facial hair, you would expect the popular coffee chain to embrace whiskers with open arms.  Baristas with beards are pictured in the employee Look Book. This glossy, extensive handbook guides every aspect of appearance and hygiene while behind the counter.

Starbucks employees are allowed to have facial hair, beards, and mustaches. The only requirements explicitly stated in the handbook are for beards and mustaches to be neat and trimmed. Long hair should be tied back to avoid contact with food and drink.

The length of beards and ‘staches among the barista set will vary across the country, but coffee beans and bearded men are an acceptable duo. 

Do you have to shave your beard to work at Starbucks?

If you have a Starbucks interview coming up, wear your beard with pride. As long as it looks professional, it should get the green light – and the green apron!

You do not have to shave your beard to work at Starbucks. Many Starbucks employees report beards being not only accepted but encouraged at their local store.

With men making up over 30% of the Starbucks barista force and beard popularity at a high, beard acceptance is a plus. 

Can you have a beard when working with food?

While Starbucks is predominantly known for its vast variety of coffee concoctions, they also offer a few food choices. Are whiskers an issue when working with food? Local health inspection agencies can have a say in the matter.

You can have a beard when working with food according to most health agencies as long as it is covered while preparing or cooking. Food safety guidelines from around the country specifically mention tying up or covering hair that could potentially come in contact with food. 

Do you have to wear a beard net at Starbucks?

If you have a beard, must you wear a beard net while on the clock? It’s complicated.

Most health department guidelines state beard nets should be worn while working with food and drink; however, enforcement of the rule in practice is varied at Starbucks’ locations.

A quick look at health code violations shows that uncovered facial hair is a common minor infraction. Employee message boards tend to lean to the side of beard nets not required most of the time.

Official Starbucks facial hair policy in 2022

Starbucks gives their “partners” (a.k.a employees) the freedom to express their “personal taste” and “handcrafted style” while on the job. However, that taste and style do have limitations.

Starbucks expects all employees to maintain a clean, professional appearance while on the job. Facial hair is allowed as long as it is neat and trimmed. Any long hair should be pulled back and restrained to avoid food contact. Any hair coloring should be permanent or semi-permanent to avoid flaking into food or drinks.

Starbucks dictates everything from the color scheme of your clothes to the pattern on your socks. The goal is a pleasing aesthetic that doesn’t overpower the iconic green apron. As strict as they are with clothing, their facial hair policy is quite liberal. 

Length of hair is not mentioned in black and white but seems to be up to the store managers. Pictures in the Look Book and on the website show bearded baristas but most tend to opt for neat scruff or a short-bearded look.

If you feel the urge to cover up those patches of gray or want to try out a new beard color, you’ll need to commit. Starbucks doesn’t want to risk any flakes of temporary color falling into a frappuccino. No wash-in-wash-out dyes, chalks, or temporary colors are allowed. 

Can you be fired for growing a beard at Starbucks?

Can your beard be an obstacle to your coffee-crafting future? No, it might even be a money maker!

Since the Starbucks appearance policy allows for beards, you cannot be fired for growing a beard within their clean, neat, and trimmed parameters. Beards that are dirty, scraggly, and unkempt may be subject to a write-up.

The chatter from Starbucks’ employees seems to indicate that many managers operate under a “3 write-ups and you’re out” mentality. So, if you’ve been written up a few times for the unkempt appearance of your beard, then termination could be in your future. 

Fun fact: A barista at an independent coffee shop in Ohio decided to put facial hair to the tipping test. He wore a mustache for two months and went clean-shaven for another two to see if there was any effect on tipping. During his ‘stache period, he made note of the days he carefully groomed and the days he didn’t. The results showed a 15% percent increase in tips on the meticulously groomed mustache days versus the sans hair days.

Does facial hair policy vary at different Starbucks locations?

Anytime vague terms like “neat and well-trimmed” are used, there’s bound to be some different degrees of acceptance and avoidance. Add in Starbucks’ ownership structures and the code can get even more muddled.

Facial hair policy can vary at different store locations, especially regarding the length of hair. The overriding company dress code allows for facial hair that is kept neat and trimmed. This dress code applies to all corporate-owned and licensed locations, but licensees can require a stricter code.

Unlike many of its competitors, Starbucks doesn’t do a lot of franchising in the U.S. About half of their stores are company-owned, while the other half are licensed. The licensed locations are typically located within other establishments like Target or airports.

Licensed locations can have their own set of dress code requirements that can trump the corporate plan. The code also has a caveat that store managers have the final say on acceptable appearance.

Discussion board conversations uncover inconsistencies across stores and even across levels of leadership. One employee was hired by a store manager and assured his rather long beard was fine. A visiting district manager didn’t agree and he was eventually asked to shave. Responses to dilemmas like this one range from “the same thing happened to me” to “anything goes at our store.”

There has also been a recent push to unionize some Starbucks locations as growth in unionization has been rising in the food service industry. With employee demands of better pay, better conditions, and better treatment being met, changes to things like appearance and dress codes could also be affected.

Are there exemptions for beards and mustaches at Starbucks?

Even with an already generous facial hair policy, is there any wiggle room for special requests? If those requests are due to your religion or a medical condition, it’s likely.

To stay in compliance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws, exemptions for facial hair may be granted due to religious, cultural, or medical reasons. 

When exemptions are offered, it’s still up to the employee to keep facial hair away from food and drinks. Food safety reigns supreme.

Religious or cultural beliefs

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. Facial hair can be an expression of one’s religion or nationality and Starbucks recognizes this.

The Starbucks employee handbook states that exceptions to the established dress and appearance code may be granted in the case of “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

All requests should go through the Partner Resources Support Center.

Medical reasons

Certain skin conditions like pseudofolliculitis barbae can be aggravated by shaving. Some men will suffer from chronic skin infections as a result.

The Starbucks employee handbook doesn’t explicitly state exemption information in regards to facial hair. However, they do have a history of listening to employee concerns about health issues.