Our Partners Wearing Name Tags or Sewn Aprons

I'm an Idea Partner in Seattle and on the Partner Resources (a.k.a. Human Resources) team. It has been great to see the passionate discussions between our customers and partners on this topic over the past few days. I truly appreciate your honesty and different points of view—it's refreshing! As a partner and loyal customer of Starbucks, I definitely understand both perspectives on this idea. Many of you feel that adding names to faces will facilitate a better connection and make the interactions even more personal. On the other hand, some of you feel that it's too formal, it creates a fast-food feel, it's not necessary, or it's too personal.

Our store partners are the first point of contact for many of our customers. Besides the quality of our coffee drinks and products, it's the service and human connection our partners provide that keep customers coming back. As I reflect on how the human connection is created, I think of many possibilities...a smile, a hello, an acknowledgment, an introduction, an inquiry, a conversation, or a simple "thank you." Also, you may notice that we have a sign in our stores saying, "Your barista is..." This is another way for us to foster that connection. In my view, these types of actions and interactions bring a sense of belonging and the third place to our customers the moment they step in the door.

Could nametags or sewn aprons facilitate the human connection between our partners and customers? Possibly. We tested the nametag idea in the Northeast several years ago. At that time, we decided not to move forward because the feedback was that it created a "fast-food" atmosphere. It's something we’ll continue to evaluate and discuss and we’ll definitely update you if it gets implemented in the future.

Connection is what makes us a different kind of company to our customers. If you have ideas on other ways we can enhance that connection, I encourage you to share them with us! Thanks.

8/14/2008 9:47 AM

As a twice daily regular customer I always felt as though I was holding up the line when I had to stop and ask the barista helping me their name.  I feel that the level of service garnered at Starbucks creates a personable atmosphere.  Without the knowledge of their names I felt robbed of a certain personal interaction.  Knowing my baristas so well, and their knowing me gave rise to the most warm and welcoming ANONYMOUS friendship I have ever had!

"Hey you" and "She wants a Chi-Latte" were often used in place of our names.  

With the advent of the Personalized Starbucks Card they quickly learned MY name, and while that helped immensely our friendships still suffer from my not knowing/remembering their names.

8/26/2008 11:38 AM

Please give us their names.  It is hard to remember since they have different shifts and turnaround of new employees.  We want to know.  It is only fast food like if you do it with cheap ugly badges.  You will also know who is making your customers happy and who is not.  Do you want to?

8/27/2008 9:34 AM

Name tags are for conventions.  Names sewn onto their aprons is very classy and a quick way to pick up their name without having to ask.  Most of the baristas know my name, so it makes sense to know theirs.  I would encourage you to move forward with the sewn name on the apron.

9/2/2008 3:20 PM

I agree that names sewn onto the aprons is classy.  

9/4/2008 3:37 PM

Sewn names would be good. Just ask every parnter to bring all the aprons he/she has so you can recycle those, and then give them 3 to 4 new sewn aprons.

I think four is a good number, just because I'm working a four hour shift doesn't mean I'm not going to get mocha on me. O.0

10/23/2008 11:26 AM

Names anywhere on the uniform are a great idea.  I love to be able to say to the manager that a partner gave me great service.  It is easier to say so when I can use their name and not point at them.   Identify the managers and shift-supervisors also!  How about a different colored apron for them?  I know you have a black apron for the barista's that have completed a special training, so not everybody has to wear green right?

11/25/2008 9:42 AM

in Canada we don't have our own aprons. Someone for a company comes and cleans them and bring them back in bundles. I don't see how is this gona work if you sew the names. Another thing is, we had few stalkers around the store. It makes me uncomfortable having my name displayed, to be honest.

1/2/2009 12:59 PM

I agree with the bulk of the comments on this post - Let's see the partners' names!  Even at the store I visit daily near my office I still only know about 3 or 4 of the partners' names.  It would be a great way to connect and build those relationships.

3/10/2009 7:58 PM

I think personalized aprons(which does sound classy-if done right) or a personalized name tag-much like that of the starbucks card you could personalize online-would be ideal. We could make them in the shape of a frap or coffee cup with the starbucks logo on it. Allow us to personalize it online then send them out to your partners-free of course-unless the lose it, they pay for it.  We could have our fav drink on them. something that would make it personal for us the partners. This would make them kind of fun to wear and might add some fun to the aprons.

3/19/2009 11:19 AM

I'm an x-starbuck mgr who first used names on cups in Riverside, CA. to help stop the confusion of guests picking  up somebody elses drink. That was in 1997. I've seen since that time, the stores move from a 3rd place experience to a cookie cutter fast food atmostphere. When I expressed my concern with the direction the company was heading the harrassment started. Sorry to see such a great vision, that Howard had, be ruined by Mgmt people that,only  want their employees to tell them how it should be not how it really is. Head in the sand management has ruined many  companies. Name tags on Disney Cast Members has not hurt their image. Positve comments about their employees are still the number one in guest comments concerning Disneyland and Disney World.

3/20/2009 12:29 AM

Not really necessary.  Stay away from name tags or sewn aprons. A posted chalk board representing your daily barista’(s) are …., works great.

3/20/2009 12:53 AM

Not really necessary.  Stay away from name tags or sewn aprons. A posted chalk board representing your daily barista’(s) are …., works great.

5/20/2009 2:34 PM

I dont like name tags

5/27/2009 9:44 AM

I only wish that my wife and I could purchase Starbucks t-shirts or caps. We are so enthusiastic about Starbucks that we travel 15 miles out of our way to visit the local Starbucks. more so in the summer months. My wife is always saying that when she retires she would love to work at Starbucks, the smell and taste of your coffees is wonderful and the people that work at Starbucks are all so friendly and curtious. We both have been fans of Starbucks for over twenty years and your coffee is the main supply in our home and away.

6/11/2009 2:09 PM

I must say I agree with the former mgr. in Riverside.  There is something about dress and being about to call your server by name. I 've been in the classiest of resturants and hotels and they all have name tags and they are not considered fast food, etc...  When you downgrade your boundaries of dress code, ethics, etc.... you establishment does down.  Are you trying to draw in just youth or everyone?  There is  a balance and I know I been to several differnt SB in my travels and some are downright unprofessional and I wouldn't go to that store again, while others have fun, but are professional and do provide an atmosphere of ..........the next offering will be pot or something.

11/19/2009 4:20 AM

I always greet the customer and introduce myself. That way they will feel the need to tell me their name too. It makes better business and a better connection. They will be back tomorrow for more.

3/27/2010 6:21 PM

Please find some way to have partners wear their names.

I believe the sewn-on names are classy, but I encourage you to make the decision that names will be displayed... then figure out whatever way is best.

I can understand that some partners -- most likely a minority -- might have privacy concerns, and I think these concerns can and should be addressed.  For example, the partner can have full latitude to decide how she (or he) wants to be addressed at work, and that is the name that will be displayed.  A partner can choose her first name, or her middle name, or a nickname, or a made-up name... just any name that a faithful and happy guest can use to greet the partner or ask for help.

If you do choose to sew names on aprons -- which seems like a great idea to me -- then there should be a backup plan to be used when a partner's personalized apron is not available.  A classy way to do this would be to have a supply of adhesive strips -- with both green-background and black-background versions to match the aprons -- and marking pens which match the colors normally used to embroider names on aprons.  That way the stickers will at least superficially match the appearance of names on personalized aprons.

4/4/2010 1:06 AM

The name tags my DM has us wearing are CHEAP and uncomfortable to wear. For over three years I haven't had to wear a name tag. However, since we've had to wear name tags I haven't been called "Natalie" or "Jennifer" when my name is Nicole. So I guess that's a plus.

4/12/2010 8:27 PM

what a fantastic idea! as a partner I know many of the customer's names, but very few know mine... not only do I feel as if the customer would like to know the name of the person who is making their beverage, but I would like them to know my name. It is the customer-partner relationship that Starbucks is always talking about.

10/10/2010 11:56 AM

Customers don't wear name tags, but partners find the significance in remembering their names. As a customer, how important are your Barista's names?

6/6/2012 9:21 PM

If you really want to know the name of the barista that makes your drink, then ask. It is really quite simple and easy to do.

6/6/2012 9:22 PM

If you really want to know the name of the barista that makes your drink, then ask. It is really quite simple and easy to do.

9/18/2012 2:21 PM

I visit a local Starbucks several times a week.  A couple of the employees know my name and greet me using my name.  I REALLY APPRECIATE the personal communication.  It makes me feel good.  I would also like to know their names. MOST of them are pleasant and smile when taking my order, but I wish I could call them by name.

I understand that name tags are a negative with Starbucks???  I would think the baristas would enjoy being spoken to on a 'personal' level too.

10/18/2012 4:12 PM

While privacy isn't exactly a concern I share regarding the names, it seems like the majority of baristas do have it. I think Starbucks should keep in mind that Baristas' opinions are supposedly important.

8/18/2013 10:07 AM

OMG Starbucks!!  Do you really NEED input whether employees waiting on your paying customers should wear NAME TAGS or not?  Of course they should wear name tags!!!  I don't know of anyone who doesn't like to be acknowledged OR called by their first name! Every Starbucks employee where I go for coffee knows MY NAME!!  Why is it (after 3 years), that I don't know all of their NAMES?

Because they don't have NAME TAGS!!!  Seriously, it's a NO brainer people!!  No question Starbucks should make name tags or apron tags or whatever name tags; mandatory so that a personable connection between Starbucks employees and their   Customers can exist!  There's lots of us waiting for this to HAPPEN!!!  Please don't sweep it under the rug!!!

8/23/2016 7:58 PM

It's weird because at my store we've always worn name tags, I thought it was a normal thing at every starbucks.  Especially with how the importance of wearing them has been stressed my my manager and district manager haha!  Anyway, I think it's great.  Especially because they're handwritten by every barista, I think that's what makes it personalized instead of "fast food".

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