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Why Baristas Hate Smart Phone Payment Apps

smart phone pos appThe easy payment apps that allow customers to pay for their coffee with their smart phones at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts may save time, but they may not be loved by the baristas.

That’s the message from a columnist from a leading magazine for IT professionals, who says that while his own POS experience at the chains is improved by the apps like Square, he can clearly see consternation from baristas as cash payments become increasingly obsolete. Writes CIO columnist Al Sacco:

The Dunkin’ and Starbucks apps make it quicker and easier for people to pay for their coffee, assuming they know how to use them and don’t fumble with their phones for five minutes every time they try to pay. But the cards also do away with the change customers receive after paying. In other words, the mobile payment apps drastically reduce the tips coffee servers receive. And when you’re making minimum wage, or close to it, tips make a difference.

Starbucks just announced a partnership with the Square payment system that will allow customers to pay for their purchases without even removing phones from their pockets, as GPS locates the phone inside a given retail location. Sacco provides some interesting insight into the mindset of more tech-savvy consumers who may be using this technology, towing the line between generosity and convenience:

Of course, the same holds true if you pay with a credit card or other plastic loyalty card, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Dunkin’ or Starbucks to build some feature into their apps that lets customers quickly, or automatically, add on a small tip. The servers could keep some sort of digital record for their tips and then “cash it in” at the end of the day.

I’ll still leave some change for my server if I have it in my pocket, but I rarely do. Call me cheap, but I don’t want to leave a dollar on a $2 coffee purchase, even if I have single bills.

The full story: CIO


1 Comment


Huh. I bring home around $7/hour after all is said and done from the buxx, and i have no problem with tiping. Acctually, one dollar on a two dollar purchase, i would do. We bring home one dollar per hour worked at my store due to your mindset, and $1/hour is frankly, embarassing.
I would never tip less than 30-40%, EVER, anywhere, and often, for lesser charges, 50% is ok. $1/hour, is not.

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