Starbucks customers AND employees fume over new ‘awkward’ tipping system: ‘Tip culture is getting insane’

Starbucks recently rolled out a new tipping system much like Dutch Brothers that allows customers to tip their barista when paying with a credit card and employees claim that it is embarrassing to have to ask a customer if they want to leave a gratuity.

Customers are not thrilled with it either, asserting that the “tip culture is getting insane” as more and more retailers expect clientele to leave a gratuity for servers, especially during the holidays.

The new feature has been implemented across North America by the company and prompts customers who pay by credit card to leave a $1, $2, “other amount” or “no tip” after they have inserted their card to pay for their beverage or food.

Employees have taken to TikTok to express how awkward asking for a tip makes them feel.

A TikTok user named @greenfanclub posted a now-deleted video on Nov. 21 showing her working at the Starbucks drive-thru window and hiding the card machine with the tipping display open, according to Fox Business.

“When the new tipping system comes out” the video was titled, with the caption “social anxiety #baristaproblems.” The clip shows a Starbucks drive-through worker as they run away and hide their face just after asking customers to sign for their purchase via credit card.

The video went viral and had more than 6.7 million views before it was taken down. It kicked off a fiery discussion over tipping among food service workers.

The worker clarified in a comment that they are not able to turn the feature off, which means that every customer gets asked if they’d like to tip. When tips are collected, they are accumulated and divvied up between shift staffers according to the number of hours they worked that week.

On Reddit, a Starbucks barista explained why the new tipping system is “awkward” for employees and customers.

“I hate the new tipping on the credit card thing… drive thrus are the worst. It’s awkward putting my hand out and waiting for them to realize what it says on the screen…” Reddit user, Swimming_Ad_2163 stated. “I get it might be more convenient for people who don’t carry cash, but it’s just awkward…”

A number of people posited that Starbucks should just pay their employees more rather than forcing them to beg for tips.

A spokesperson for Starbucks announced that the popular coffee retailer is “rolling out” card tipping across the country.

“Starbucks is rolling out the ability for customers to tip for credit card transactions at the register in the café and drive-thru. This capability began at select stores in the U.S. in September 2022 and will continue to roll out to all stores where this can apply through the end of the year.” Starbucks said via a statement. “It’s our goal to allow our customers to recognize baristas no matter what payment method they use, and we’re excited to bring this new enhancement to stores.”

Despite the upset over the new tipping method, it is used at a number of retailers with success. Coffee outlet Dutch Brothers has its people go to people’s cars personally for their orders and tipping reportedly never seems to be an issue. It’s a matter of getting used to it and no one is forced to tip.

The New York Post reports, “Research shows that digital tipping options typically result in customers leaving a tip ranging from 18% to 30% — and sometimes even higher.”


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