When I started at Il Giornale, and later Starbucks, the drink menu was very simple. When we were trained on the bar, a cup with logo facing you was a latte, turned to the right was a cappuccino, turned to the left was a mocha, upside down cup was a double shot, etc. As we added more drinks, 2% milk and custom options to the menu only the most skilled baristas could keep track of the cups on the top of the La Marzocco. I often found myself behind the bar asking the customer, "And you are waiting for?" Or calling out what I had in queue and asking if anyone was missing a beverage. Ops Services was asked to solve the problem so new baristas could be more easily trained. So CUP ID was born. Those are the little boxes on the side of your cup that have become a signature of the Starbucks brand and the basis of the drink calling methodology. While we all appreciate it now, when rolling it out in 1994, using the boxes was considered an affront to skilled baristas and we were told we were ruining the hand crafted culture of Starbucks. Now it is hard to imagine a Starbucks Cup without the boxes.
I would like to give a shout out to Kathie Lindemann, Erika Brooks, Dan Moore, Margie Giuntini - the brave souls who helped create the system and lead its roll out as the early Ops Services pioneers.