Starbucks Gives Away Free Drinks After Computers Go Down

Starbucks barista Alex Igarta hands a coffee drink to a customer from a drive-up window at a store near the company's corpora
Starbucks barista Alex Igarta hands a coffee drink to a customer from a drive-up window at a store near the company's corporate headquarters Monday, Jan. 26, 2009, in Seattle. Starbucks reported Wednesday that its profits dropped 69 percent in its fiscal first quarter and it plans to close more stores and cut more jobs. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Starbucks stores around the nation were forced to give away free drinks or close their doors after the computers of the coffee giant went down on Friday evening.

There were numerous accounts of customers being given free drinks from baristas who were unable to use the computers used for transactions at stores around the U.S. and Canada. Other stores were limited in the types of transactions they could make, some accepting only cash, or mobile payments.

Approximately 7,000 U.S. stores and 1,000 in Canada were affected by the outage, Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson told the Associated Press.

"The point of sale cash registers are down in the U.S. and Canada. It is not a hack. It happened during a typical daily menu refresh on the system. Something went wrong and they are working as quickly as possible to get them up" Starbucks spokesman Olson told CNN. Starbucks said that it would keep its stores open even though its systems were offline.

Starbucks had not yet replied to HuffPost's inquires about the incident, but a barista in Hollywood confirmed to BuzzFeed that they were forced to give away drinks. The barista said each customer could get one tall drink. This did not appear to be the case at other locations. Some were reportedly giving away multiple drinks or of larger sizes.

By 9:30 p.m. PT, Starbucks' computer system was back in action the company said in a statement. The outage was caused by a failure during a daily system refresh, and also affected Starbucks' Evolution Fresh and Teavana stores.

But it wasn't all free drinks during the hours-long outage, as some Starbucks locations posted signs saying they were closed due to the computer glitch.

The outage came a day after Starbucks reported strong sales and profits, beating Wall Street's expectations. Starbucks has been lauded for its robust payment system, as Bloomberg notes, but with the computers on the fritz, Starbucks was unable to process credit, debit, mobile and cash payments.