Making payments by shaking a mobile device. Adding gratuities without taking out a wallet. It appears that the future has arrived, and Starbucks is ready. In a company press release yesterday, the coffee giant announced a new version of its iPhone app. The update will allow users to pay via their phones — namely, by shaking them — and include an option to tip baristas digitally.
Starbucks notes that over 11 percent of their transactions are completed with mobile devices, and that nearly 10 million individuals use the current app. The update ushers in a larger question: will customers choose to tip baristas when presented with a simple option? It’s no secret that our country looks favorably on adding gratuities. We have all grown accustomed to adding 15-20% to a bill when dining out at a restaurant. The practice of tipping at coffee shops and similar venues is somewhat murkier, however, with the large majority of these places simply requesting spare change via plastic containers near the cashier. Will a one-click option — $.50, $1 and $2 denominations are offered — cause a shift towards a more generous public? Is the Starbucks app a model for future large-scale hospitality chains? Will tipping become the norm everywhere? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
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