Starbucks to Allow 'Digital Tipping'

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Starbucks to allow 'digital tipping'NEW YORK (AP) - Want to leave your barista a tip? Starbucks (SBUX) is making an app for that.

The Seattle-based coffee company says a digital tip function will be added to its mobile payment application starting next summer. A similar option will also be available on Square, a new payment app that Starbucks customers will be able to use starting in November.

To use either of the programs, customers download the app then link a credit or debit card to the account. When it comes time to pay at the register, they open the app and wave their phone in front of the scanner.

The Starbucks app can only be used at the company's cafes and customers earn rewards when using it; the Square app can be used wherever it is accepted. Square was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter.

Users of Square mobile payments app are currently mostly small businesses and individuals, with Starbucks being the first major national chain to sign on for the program.

Starbucks Corp. doesn't break out the percentage of payments that are made with mobile phones, but says a quarter of payments are with a Starbucks card, which can be either a physical or mobile payment. The company also said its existing app is now integrated with Apple's (AAPL) Passbook, meaning a customer's Starbucks card automatically appears on their iPhone screen when they enter one of the cafes.

The announcements were made at the company's leadership conference in Houston, where about 10,000 Starbucks store managers are for gathered for training through Saturday. A similar conference in New Orleans was held to motivate managers about four years ago, when the company was hit by the downturn and sales were struggling.

Since then, the coffee company turned around its business and emerged from the downturn stronger, rapidly expanding into new categories such as the single-serve coffee brewer and fresh juice markets.


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Quizzical

Just back from a trip to Italy. My first time, and please read on if you're interested in an amature's naive observations about Italian coffee. I was really impressed by the best espressos and cappuccinos I'd ever tasted, leaving Starbucks (and others) in the dust. They have this down pat, and from the most humble establishment to the more fancy ones, coffee is consistently very strong and delicious, but not bitter. Cappuccinos have a tall head of milk foam without any cute drawings on top, and they are small in size so you don't get the caffeine jitters. They don't make a big deal about the consistenly proper use of their espresso machines or of select vacuum-packed coffee beans. They don't get haughty about being "baristas" (which after all just means "bartender" in Italian). You can gauge the complete lack of importance which Italians attach to the whole "barista" thing by the fact that none of the winners of the World Barista Championship has been an Italian. In Italy it's much simpler: anyone who is behind the counter routinely makes top-notch coffee.

October 25 2012 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denny Craneftw

Calling a Starbucks worker a "barista" is like calling a McDonalds worker a "chef". Seriously, it's national chain coffee. It meets the "Just good enough" standard to get me to stop in if I don't know the quality of other coffee shops I'm near at the time.
I certainly do NOT leave a gratuity there (see: McDonalds reference above).

October 20 2012 at 12:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Irena

Digital Tippin... Soon to be followed by Digital Takin... Like a bank.
.. do you give because you feel guilty? maybe they should feel guilty
for not giving you "half-off" ? You know giving a bag full of money to
a homeless person is not a good idea if she intends to buy drugs from
a drug dealer, instead of "load up" on caramel frappacinos (sp?)....
I like that, if you cannot spell a word, simply write (sp?) and others will
forgive you for not pretending you can spell, and by pretending, brain-posison
them... Hmm, I guess that is how you spell 'poison'... who knew?

October 18 2012 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lu Johnson

This is a bunch of bull. I don't like it. No sir, I don't.

Here's a 'tip'... the first Starbucks barista I meet that also feels this is rude and arrogant and refuses to play the 'expected tip' game is the guy or gal who will get my support. This eliteist liberal Obama munching mumbo-jumbo 'touchie-feelie' mindset crap is getting out of hand.

Mitt and Paul in 2012!!

Hard work and excellence are the way to EARN a tip, there's really just no other way.

October 06 2012 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gilbert

Type your comment here The whole idea of a "Tip Jar" is ridiculous! I only tip people who actually serve me at my table.and refill my coffee cup. Remember that the title "Barista" is just a fancy name for a counter worker.

October 05 2012 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Shirley Peterson

Why would you tip anyway, you place the order, you pick it up and it is costly in the first place, no need to tip.

October 05 2012 at 2:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rssperch

What's the point of tipping in advance? Is it about 'buying' good service before you get it? So, do you ask for your tip back if service is not great or do just not tip the next time you come in? This 'advance tipping' is backwards.

October 05 2012 at 10:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mikcl1

Why doesnt star bucks pay thier employees a living wage then they wont have to worry about developing an electronic tip method ?
Because they just want more profits! And no raise for the ones that actually make the place work.

October 05 2012 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mikcl1

Why doesnt star bucks pay thier employees a living wage then they wont have to worry about developing an electronic tip method ?
Because they just want more profits! And no raise for the ones that actually make the place work.

October 05 2012 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
a-non-mouse

Notice the status symbol on the browser that indicates the page is still processing - if you click submit again while that is still in progress, it will duplicate the posting request.

October 05 2012 at 3:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply