Why Starbucks Writes Your Name on the Cup? Top 3 Reasons!

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For what seems like forever, Starbucks has been writing the customer’s name on the cup before giving them their drink. But have you ever thought about why Starbucks writes your name on the cup and other coffee shops don’t?

In 2012, Starbucks began writing customers’ names on the cups to create a more personal connection. The goal of this practice is to create a relationship with customers and make their drink order more than just a transaction.

Names on the cups also help Starbucks baristas remember and categorize orders and prevent customers with similar orders from placing the wrong order. It is also free marketing when the sometimes misspelled names on Starbucks cups go viral on social media. In this article, we will cover the three main reasons why Starbucks writes your name on your drink.

Since When Does Starbucks Write Names on Cups?

Starbucks coffee drive thru

While most people assume that Starbucks has always written customers’ names on their drink orders, it first started in 2012. 

As part of their first name initiative, Starbucks baristas have also worn labels with their own names since 2012.

Why Starbucks Writes Your Name on the Cup? 

1. To Create a Better Customer Experience

Starbucks barista holding a cup

There are a lot of coffee shops out there, and many of them make good coffee. So Starbucks is trying to stand out from the crowd of coffee shops by providing the best customer experience possible. 

If a customer gets the same cup of coffee at Starbucks as they do at Dunkin’ but feels more appreciated at Starbucks and a part of a community, they will buy the drink at Starbucks. 

Discover a hilarious donuts meme or a Starbucks meme if you want to start your day with a Starbucks or Dunkin-themed laugh.

But how does it feel to be part of a community when you have your name on a cup?

Because of the incredible power of calling someone by name.

Calling someone by name helps build a relationship with them:

“A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in every language to them.” 

A person’s first name is a direct link to their identity. It might be the most important word in the world to that person. Calling someone by name is a great way to get their attention.

The fact that Starbucks bartenders know your name and you know theirs creates a personal connection between you and the coffee shop.

If you are a Starbucks regular, your barista may even remember your name and write it on the cup without you having to say it. A barista at another coffee shop may know you as a regular customer, but only because you ordered. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel closer to someone and am more likely to buy my coffee from them if they call me “Ben” and not “Sir.” Of course, the level of service and the quality of the cup of Joe they serve me matters a lot too!

2. Better Organization of Orders

A third and more practical reason Starbucks puts your name on the cup is that it helps them and you not mix up or confuse different orders.

For example, you and the man behind you both order a cappuccino, but yours contains vanilla syrup. If the man behind you’s order comes out first, you might pick it up by mistake because it’s identical to yours.

However, if the barista writes both names on the cups, not only do you wait for the barista to say your name, but you can also make sure it’s your drink by looking in the cup before you pick it up. 

Names on cups are especially helpful during peak hours. If several Starbucks coffee cups are sitting on the counter waiting to be picked up, it would be nearly impossible for a customer to know which cup belongs to them if they are not labeled. 

And the fewer customers who place the wrong order, the better because if someone drinks the wrong beverage, Starbucks has to redo it entirely.

Also, names make it easier for the coffee shop staff to remember and sort orders because they might remember names more easily than some random numbers.

3. Marketing

Starbucks branding

Image credit: Shutterstock

While you may believe your Starbucks barista is misspelling your name because they don’t like you, there could be a larger strategy at work here.

Some people believe the whole thing is a ploy by Starbucks to obtain worldwide free social media advertising.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, an assistant manager admitted to misspelling names to promote the coffee chain:

“I don’t know if everyone does it, but when I asked my manager if she does, she admitted most Starbucks employees use it as a marketing tool.

Most people aren’t going to post a photo of a cup with their name spelled right on social media. I just use it as a way to be funny, but now I get why people use it as a way to promote the business.”

Starbucks cup with a misspelled name

A Starbucks spokesman said to BuzzFeed News that the marketing tool theory is incorrect: “We’ve never asked or directed any of our partners to misspell names of our customers for any reason,” he said.

Interestingly, the first global brand to ever hit 10 million followers on Facebook was a coffee shop chain called Starbucks.

To wrap up the marketing theory debate, a question to Plato: Why would Starbucks ever admit to this if it was true?

Bottom Line

Why does Starbucks write your name on the cup? Starbucks prides itself on the quality of its products and the quality of the customer experience. Writing customers’ names on cups and attaching badges to baristas’ aprons are ways the company can create a personal connection with its customers. 

To make the daily coffee purchase feel more like being a part of the Starbucks community rather than a simple transaction. Using a person’s name is an effective way to enhance the relationship with them, and Starbucks seems to be making the most of it. There might also be a possible marketing angle in writing and misspelling names on the cups, although Starbucks has publicly denied doing this.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock