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Starbucks adds digital tipping to its menu

2:59 PM, Mar 14, 2014   |    comments
(Photo: Eric Risberg AP)
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(USA TODAY) Starbucks has concocted yet another way to shake spare change out of its mobile phone-carrying customers: digital tipping.

Beginning Wednesday, March 19, customers who use the Starbucks for iPhone app in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., can also use it to leave a tip at more than 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores.

Until now, consumers could not digitally tip at Starbucks. This has been a problem for baristas and customers alike. Thousands of caffeine-seekers who carry their cell phones - but no cash - have been stiffing employees, and not feeling so swell about it.

In fact, digital tipping has been one of the most frequent suggestions from consumers on the Starbucks idea site,

"As more and more customers are using their phones to pay, they have asked for a convenient and meaningful way" to tip baristas, said Cliff Burrows, group president of Starbucks U.S.

More than 11% of the weekly transactions in Starbucks stores are via mobile devices, said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. And nearly 10 million Starbucks customers currently use the Starbucks mobile app.

Later this year, Starbucks will update its Starbucks for Android app, including the addition of a digital tipping feature, said Brotman.

The initial barista tip options will be 50 cents, $1 or $2.

If you want to tip more - or less - you'll have to do it the old way: Bring cash.

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