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Should You Tip at Starbucks?

When and how much you should tip has been a highly debated topic for years, especially in the service industry. Some service industry workers receive drastically reduced hourly wages because they’re expected to make it up in tips for having excellent service.

However, other positions make nearly twice the minimum wage and still have a spot to tip on your receipt. 

So should you be tipping on that expensive caffeinated beverage from Starbucks? Let’s dive in!

The History & Culture of Starbucks

While Starbucks has its headquarters in Seattle, Wash., it’s one of the most popular coffee chains in the world. As of November 2021, the coffee juggernaut had over 33,000 stores in 80 countries, with approximately half being in the United States.

The company launched in 1971 through a partnership between Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker at the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. Howard Schultz purchased the company in the early 1980s and converted it into an espresso-based coffee shop. Under Schultz’s leadership, the company quickly expanded in Seattle and across the country. The company would eventually establish locations on every continent, excluding Antarctica.

Starbucks is now a part of American pop culture. If you doubt us, take a peek at the line at the drive-thru or the airport the next time you pass by it. People will wait in a line a mile long to get their fresh cup of Starbucks.

Should You Tip at Starbucks?

Starbucks employees typically make at least minimum wage, sometimes substantially more. As a result, it’s not a requirement to tip at Starbucks.

However, Starbucks employees aren’t going to turn down anyone willing to reward them for providing excellent service. 

If you feel that you received exceptional service at Starbucks, then tip. If not, don’t feel guilty about it because most employees don’t typically expect it. 

How Do You Tip a Starbucks Barista?

All tips at Starbucks go into a community pool and get split up amongst all the hourly employees that week. This includes tips for both in-store and online orders.

Even if you go through the drive-thru, there’s typically a jar posted at the pick-up or payment window. Starbucks employees make at least minimum wage and so tipping is typically not necessary.

Can You Tip at Starbucks Drive Thru? 

The Starbucks drive-thru typically almost always offers a jar for customers to tip their baristas. However, Starbucks upgraded its systems. One TikTok user recently got the option to tip when paying through one of the iPads when going through the drive-thru. These tips go into a large pool that employees split evenly. 

However, tips through credit card transactions don’t typically reach the baristas until they receive their weekly paychecks.

Do Starbucks Baristas Know If You Tip?

Starbucks baristas don’t typically know whether or not you tip unless they see you drop some coins or cash in the tip jar. While it’s not required, tipping your baristas can be a great way to avoid long waits. If you’re a familiar face and a barista knows you’re a generous tipper, they may bump your order up in the queue.

In addition, tipping helps improve the quality of the store. Starbucks locations that earn a reputation for having generous tippers tend to have very few unfilled shifts, and employees are likely to want to stay longer. This means a location will get more experienced and happier employees who can pump out orders faster with higher accuracy than other locations.

The most popular menu item at Starbucks tends to change throughout the year. While the Iced caramel macchiato and caramel frappuccino top the list throughout the year, the pumpkin spice latte swipes in and steals the show during the fall.

There’s a certain zeal for this blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Put a little whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices on top, and it’s 390 calories of perfection. You can practically taste autumn in your cup.

Is It Rude to Not Tip at Starbucks?

Not tipping at Starbucks isn’t necessarily rude because their workers are making minimum wage or better. Their salaries aren’t dependent on tips to bring up their hourly wage. 

However, while tipping isn’t necessary or required, it’s still a very generous thing to do, especially if you have a complex or large order. Baristas appreciate every extra penny they can get in their paychecks. Giving a few extra bucks can go a long way.

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