Will Starbucks’ new tipping prompt tick off customers?
Tipping at Starbucks is as voluntary as it is anywhere in the U.S., but a new digital payment solution is now making it tough and awkward to avoid doing so. Some customers, and even some baristas, are displeased with the development.
Twitter users expressed outrage at the new point-of-sale solution, which prompts users to tip $1, $2 or $5. They must select the “No Tip” option if they want to pay only the cost of their purchase, according to Entrepreneur. Twitter critics appeared particularly irritated with the solution being implemented at the drive-thru. One angry customer pointed to the already high cost of coffee drinks at Starbucks and took the auto-demand for tips to mean that Starbucks was trying to cover up for not paying its workers enough.
On TikTok, an apparent barista posted a video criticizing the solution from the employee side, calling it “[one of the] top ten worse disasters ever to happen to human kind.” The response of the commenters on the TikTok, some from others purporting to be Starbucks baristas, are mixed. Some say the solution is slowing down the line when Starbucks already has a problem with throughput and order fulfillment speed, and that the added step is causing confusion among customers, sometimes even leading them to choose the wrong tip value. Others, however, say the solution is leading to more and bigger tips and is nothing to complain about.
Other retailers have implemented similar solutions, even as surveys are finding that customers do not like them.
A survey of 2,000 consumers by Time2Play earlier this year found that 67.7 percent of Americans felt pressured when the POS system prompted them to tip and 86.8 percent said that it made them uncomfortable.
There may even be a bit of a backlash to these types of POS solutions, as CNBC reported that solutions that make customers tip at the point of sale are the ones customers are now most likely to ignore, as inflation and “tip fatigue” after a wave of pandemic generosity drive customers to pull back on spending.
- ‘Tip Culture Is Getting Insane’: Starbucks Customers Furious Over Company’s New Tipping System – Entrepreneur
- So embarassing[sic] when customers go “its not going through”… – TikTok
- Has tipping for takeout become a social norm? – RetailWire
- Americans have ‘tip fatigue’ — post-pandemic, diners are less inclined to tip generously for takeout – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Starbucks’ new point-of-sale solution be good or bad for the chain in the long run? Will customers be irritated enough by things like this to change their purchasing habits?