A Tip at Your Fingertips for Your Starbucks Barista

Starbucks coffee chain’s mobile-pay app will soon feature a tipping option.

Did you enjoy an especially tasty caramel macchiato at Starbucks this morning? Now you can let your barista know just how much you appreciated your caffeine pick-me-up with a tip. And we’re not referring to tossing a few coins in a glass tip jar.

Starbucks has added three options – 50 cents, $1 or $2 – to its mobile payment app, giving customers a chance to tip their barista digitally, said The Seattle Times.

“We think it’s going to be great for our baristas,” chief digital officer Adam Brotman said in an interview at Starbucks’ Sodo headquarters. He said customers have been requesting a tipping feature for the app for some time.

The new tipping option, which will be available March 19, is a key feature in the recent redesign of Starbucks’ iPhone app, said the Times. As the self-proclaimed “largest mobile-payments retailer in the U.S.,” and potentially the world, the Seattle-based coffee chain has more than 10 million active app users, and processes 5 million mobile payments each week.

Until now, tips could only be made with cash. The mobile tipping option will be sent to customers’ phones via a push notification, said Forbes. The new app is being rolled out solely in the U.S., but Forbes says Starbucks plans on expanding digital tipping to other markets soon.

Digital tips have the potential to boost baristas’ take-home pay. But, The Associated Press says:

The move puts a spotlight on what can be a sensitive topic for customers, workers and even Starbucks, which has faced lawsuits over how it divvies up the contents of tip jars among workers. Some customers are happy to tip for friendly service, knowing that baristas don’t earn that much. Others say that they already fork over enough money and shouldn’t be made to feel like they should throw money into a tip jar as well.

Starbucks says the tips will be paid out to workers in cash.

I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t know if and how much you should tip a barista. What are your thoughts on Starbucks’ new mobile-tipping option? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • Old Highland Guy

    Tiping is stupid. They have a job, collect that pay check and do your job. I have worked all my life, since 1956, and I never got tipped for doing my job. Oh, I did get raises but that is for COLA and just doing my job. My wife, when a small girl, picked up potatoes, picked grapes, worked, worked, worked, and was NEVER tipped for her labor, she was paid instead. I hate tiping, so call me Scrooge.

    • ModernMode

      I agree. Going to Starbucks is like going to McDonalds. They make at least minimum wage right? It’s not like they’re making $2.15 per hour.

    • Eeta Dick

      you got it Scrooge, you cheap, bitter old bastard. Now can we have our ball back so you can stop yelling at us to get “off your lawn” ?

    • spearmintskies

      Do any of you actually work at or have worked at a minimum wage customer service job, past the year 2009? (or even before?) I’m not including you, Scrooge, as you’re between 57 and 59 years of age and it is CLEARLY a different day and age. You can no longer make due with sending your children off to pick grapes and potatoes. You cannot go buy a piece of pie and a cup of coffee for a nickle. Keep your opinion to yourself because not only does it not apply and cannot work in this generation, but you also sound like a terrible person and no one wants to hear that.

      • Joe Gebert

        Spearmintskies, this old buzzard was working in 1956 not born. your nasty bigoted remarks against old people in general…sad. I was born in 1955, tip well and in cash I, don’t know anybody that doesn’t tip well…tip your Batista’s like your mixologist…heck, I’ve tipped more then t

        • spearmintskies

          I’ve also worked in the restaurant business. That was my previous job before it went under and I got my job at Starbucks. I also understand and have experienced that area of customer service. And I wouldn’t say my “nasty bigoted remarks” aren’t any worse than his own. Maybe I don’t understand because I wasn’t alive then. But at least this man has a choice to learn or adapt or even just try to understand the second side of things, rather than blatantly ignoring it.

          There’s also a very clear generation gap (several, actually) so my remarks between the difference in day and age aren’t ignorant at all. It’s just a statement of fact.

          Thank you for tipping. We really appreciate it. Personally, it pays for my gas that gets me to and from work (which is currently over $3.60 a gallon where I live, definitely more expensive than 1955) and also enables me to take my 16 month old son to daycare (did you know that full time daycare for a toddler costs more than a 4 year college tuition?) That little extra bit of cash goes a long way and I would love to serve you coffee. I, as well as my barista partners, however, will prefer that “Old Highland Guy” stay out of our store.

    • Joe Gebert

      To bad for you…i only worked one a job that tipping was the norm, but have always had people try to show their appreciation, with gifts and cash…

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