Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What if Your Starbuck's Card Threw in a Free Tip?*

I love my barista but it just is not convenient to tip in a credit card society, and I know that tips have declined as more of us whip out the card instead of pulling out a few dollars.

Which got me thinking, why doesn't Starbucks encourage everyone to use a gift card by offering that every time we load a gift card and pay with it, the crew working gets some token amount or percentage thrown into their pay that day? Ponied up by the company itself, of course. I don't mean charging the customer, but building it in as an incentive of using the card the way you did for the drink upgrades or free syrups. It would emphasize the company's focus on employees and social/corporate responsibility, make customers feel good, and incentivize the cards which I am too lazy to use.

Think of it as a barista appreciation program--and a way of keeping your employees happy while tying the community to their store and rectifying the slide in tips.

I'd love to know that I can tip for free as a perk of buying and using a Starbucks card and I don't think the cost to the company would be very much at all. I may be using my own card now, but this would get me to reach for that branded piece of plastic.

* P.S. I offered this idea to Peet's but they didn't do anything with it. Somehow with the store closings, Starbucks seems hungrier...


thereisnospoon said...

why don't you post a "tip jar"?

Oven Fresh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oven Fresh said...

I completely agree. It's not convenient to pay for your coffee with cash anymore nowadays. I think giving back to the barista is much more important than free syrup. Great idea KK!

TheKK said...

Tip Jar! Get your tip jar!

Julia said...

I don't know...my husband worked at Starbucks for two years and I'm worried that if people think they can tip on the company's dime, they might not bother to actually tip. The tip given by this gift card idea would probably be less than the amount baristas make in tips now.

People already are less likely to tip baristas, since the setup is different than in, say, a restaurant. What most people don't realize is that in a restaurant the waiters just wait; they don't have to clean or cook. Starbucks employees have to do everything. They make the drinks, clean the bathroom, sweep the floor, unload the trucks that show up at four in the morning to deliver the milk; they have to load the money from the registers into the safe, which has a wait time of about ten minutes.

My husband usually had the later shift, so he ended up closing the store a lot. Since in virtually every industry more attention is paid to morning shift, evening shift has fewer workers, but these workers are required to do everything conceivably possible to prepare for the morning people, including shutting down and cleaning the espresso machines, which must be done carefully, since they are incredibly expensive, and making the whipped cream.

Morning shift has to arrive about 20 minutes early to load the milk off the trucks. Evening shift, on a good day, a day when no one lingers too long near close (it takes a long time to shut down those machines!), are lucky to get out an hour after close. I've seen it take three, when day shift shirked its responsibilities, leaving more for night shift to do, which is pretty much company policy - leave it all for night shift!

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