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September 08, 2004


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Starbucks stores pool tips weekly, and then divide the tips up according to the total number of hours worked per week. Each employee is then awarded tips based on an hourly rate. My store typically made between $2.75 - $3.50/ hr in tips. New stores start low, though, say $.74/ hr.

We calculated once that if every customer tipped a quarter, we would make over $4.00/ hr in tips. If we give you drip coffee, we don't care if you tip. If you come in 2 minutes before closing, and ask us to make 3 frappucinos, it would be kind to put something in the tip jar.


Before someone makes the remark that it's our job to make frappucinos and we shouldn't be tipped for simply doing our job, yadda yadda yadda, I would like to preempt that comment by explaining that of course, we have to, however, we also do customers favors quite often (not charging for refills, not kicking you out when we are supposed to, letting people bring their pets in, etc).

Tipping makes us love you, and when we love you we make better drinks for you, give them to you faster, etc.

Sorry for the double post, but after re-reading what I wrote I could just see that response coming...


>>not kicking you out when we are supposed to

When are you supposed to kick people out?

david nemesis

The tip revenue can vary hugely from store to store, with tiny "neighborhood" stores usually doing much better than the ones with a lot of tourist or mall traffic. It helps when said neighborhood stores have a good store team; the last store where I worked before leaving the company in January had great management and great baristas, all of whom had been there for a while and remembered everyone's drinks. So the customers felt like they knew the people at "their" Starbucks and were pretty generous with the tips.

On the other hand, before that I was with a flagship store in Chicago where there was insane turnover and a definite love-hate relationship between customer and barista. So we couldn't even count on tips from our regulars, because they wouldn't know who they'd be seeing from one week to the next, and nearly everyone was fairly consistently rude to them.

The Starbucks Cards never hurt tips as much as credit cards do; in fact, I've had many people say they would leave a tip if only there were a way to do it on the charge slip rather than having to carry cash.

In response to the earlier commenter about "tipping makes us love you," well, I treated my customers equally, since even the best tip rate in the world isn't enough to pay for more than maybe a meal out unless you're pulling 40 hours a week at the best Starbucks in the world.


Technically, the outside patio can be closed 30 minutes before posted closing time. If anyone frequents stores with active evening crowds, you can see how this could cause problems. I actually have problems asking people to leave from outside even after the staff has left.

As far as my comment about "tipping makes us love you" I stand by it. Ask a waitress how much she loves an asshole guest who tips 10%. I've worked in both situations, and though they are not equivalent, Starbucks is still more "fine-dining" than "fast food". Most customers know that whatever they ask for, they can get, regardless of whether its on the menu, or not. Try that in a McDonalds or something.

We don't hate people that don't tip, but we don't understand those who don't. I always tip anywhere, and I am far from rich. It has nothing to do with income, I think its simply empathy. If you've worked in service, you know.


Tip for a cup of coffee? You guys are already outrageously over priced, and you want more? Its coffee for gosh sakes. I even have to wait in line to recieve it. Does this mean I should tip the counter help at McDonalds? Maybe you can tell me the difference.


Seriously, Starbucks is one of the best places to work for (from what I read). They get PAID WELL OVER MINIMUM WAGE and plus BENEFITS!!!

Now, do I need to start tipping the supermarket checkers for checking out my groceries??? Apparently, they're usually MORE busier than Starbucks peeps (EVERYONE goes to the grocery store) and they get paid less than Starbucks peeps!


Will got to this one before I could.

You've got to be out of your damn mind to tip at Starbucks. It's already near $4 a coffee. Lord forbid if I'm buying for my girlfriend. Maybe add a pastry. Now I'm at $11 for 2 coffee's and a donut???

I'm supposed to tip on top of that? Hell NO!

It's not rocket science, you are just pouring a cup of coffee or frothing some milk. Give me a break.

This reminds me of the intro scene of Reservoir Dogs where they are sitting at the diner discussing whether to tip @ McDonalds.

McDonald's employees work a helluva lot harder than Starbucks and get no tip. Stop ur whining


Starbucks employees don't DESERVE a tip. Jeez, get a grip people -- you aren't performing a personalized service of any sort, you're pouring coffee (wildly overpriced coffee no less). I polled co-workers who frequent Starbucks (I don't) and couldn't find a single person who had ever seen a Starbucks employee do anything that went the least bit beyond their job description. Of course, nobody could even think of anything that would qualify in the first place!

Someone else here also pointed out that customers have to wait in line as well. Even in a hash house, the waitress has to lug your food from the kitchen.

Bottom line -- you don't deserve a tip of any sort. Consider it the highest form of kindness that you ever get one since you do absolutely nothing that warrants it.


"Starbucks is still more "fine-dining" than "fast food". Most customers know that whatever they ask for, they can get, regardless of whether its on the menu, or not. Try that in a McDonalds or something."

ROTFL! Obviously, you've never heard of Burger King and their motto "Have it your way."

Here's the skinny:

Fast food -- Customers stand in line to order and then pick up their own product

Fine dining -- Customers are seated and their food is brought to their table

Starbucks -- Customers stand in line to order and then pick up their own product

What a strange coincidence that Fast Food and Starbucks work exactly the same way.


Just stumbled onto this site, but here's my two bits anyway.

1) Tipping is the biggest rip-off by management I can imagine. I pay for the product, and THEN am expected to pay a big part of the employe's wages as well? You do the job you were hired for, and then have to rely on me to pay a big part of your wages as an optional gratuity. ORGANIZE and demand a fair wage and refuse tips, gang.

2) In spite of (1) above I do tip at a sit down. I do it from empathy, because I know I can't get that sore-footed waitress a fair shake by not tipping her. I tip based on service: was it fast, friendly, accurate, and did I actually GET the Tabasco I asked for, could I catch the wait-persons eye, get a frequent walk-by, a smile and how many stations was the wait-person covering. I tip big for good service given under adverse circumstances. A wait-person with two stations that spends their time jawing with the hash-slinger gets zip. And counter people do none of this. Do YOU tip at Mickey D? And becca, Starbucks is the Mickey D of coffee. Instead of slides, it's got a steamy thing for the milk and a cinnamon shaker. It is NOT "fine dining." (Were you able to type that with a straight face?)

3) I find it harder to tip when I know tips are pooled (almost universal, these days.) The person who gave me good service on Monday gets the same as the slug on Tuesday?

4) If you are giving me slower service and a less well made drink because I don't have a history of tipping well at your store, well...no I won't say it. Cheney would, but not me.

5) Y'all can ignore this because I loathe the pretentious overpriced Starbucks chain. The only time I go is with a group who won't go to Madge's Diner for a cup of joe. It really ticks me off when I order a large and some 16-year-old asks (pretentious voice), "Do you mean a vente?" And why not "grande" (large) instead of "vente" (which doesn't mean a thing in Italian?)

It's COFFEE, kids, and Evian is tap water. Really.


One thing I like about most of the Starbucks stores I frequent is that the folks working there don't show an obvious interest in tips. They aren't staring at me trying to see if I put money in the tip jar -- when I do tip, most of the time they are over getting a pastry or making a drink and don't even see. Whereas in some other coffee shops, they stare you down and glare at you!

Now, I would tip more frequently if, as someone mentioned, the credit card slips gave room to write in the tips. (But lately they've gone to the "no-signature" thing for small transactions, so...) Instead, I give big tips when I come in with cash, to make up for the times I can't tip. And it would really really irritate me if my service was negatively affected because someone noticed that one day I didn't tip -- not realizing that the day before, or the day after, I tipped a large amount.

People do have a point, though, about tipping in coffee shops -- they are really fast food, and that is traditionally not tipped in American culture. Why espresso joints seem to always have tip jars is something I've often wondered. Maybe it's a Seattle thing? Because the espresso places in Seattle always had them, and so Starbucks did too.

Brave Sir Robbin

At the Starbucks on Beauregard St. in Alexandria, VA, there used to be a chick working behind the counter that looked a LOT like Sandra Bullock. She was really cute. Haven't been back there in a while. But if she's still there, I'd just like to say that I'd gladly tip her if my frappacino came with a "happy ending."

kat grodevant

tipping at *$$? you all must be nuts. i dont tip at dunkin donuts for my coffee and donut. unless.... we have an area we can sit and have coffee and a donut or in the winter get soup or chili, and the gal that waits the table brings it to us. she comes to us and refills our coffee. she gets us creamer or icewater. and if we call her she brings us another donut. then we smile and each leave a buck or so, walk to the counter and pay. then she comes and clears the table after. that is the service i tip for. if i were at *$$ and i was sitting down i might tip depending on the service. tips are a "gratuity". that means you are greatful for the service rendered. and the fancy title of brewister or what ever the heck it is (sounds like an english lawyer) dont make you worth more money. get a real job at a resturant and try to learn all the dishes they have there, run from table to table, clean up after a family of five, dont break a sweat when a group of 10 ppl come in for dinner, take back the steak thats over/under cooked, remember the daily specials and know 10 ways ppl like thier eggs cooked. then you can and might just deserve a tip. but it would be YOU that deserved the tip not the "sluggard" (as was so elegantly put in an earlier comment).

JR Wilding

When Starbucks has good coffee, I will tip!


I used to work a counter at a known coffee/donut chain with the initials DD, and ever since I am more sympathetic to anyone who does this kind of work. I don't know what Starbucks workers make, but it can't be alot in this economy. During the morning rush these people are on their feet and working hard doing stocking and clean up work on the fly that most customers don't consider as part of the process.

If I go into the local Starbucks at that time of day, and am served promptly, politely, & get a good cuppa, I have no problem throwing my change into the tip jar. It's not mandatory; it's just a way of saying thanks for good service.

How much? Well it depends on your order. If you're ordering one of those beverages that requires more than pouring coffee or hot water, I think you should leave at minimum a quarter or you're a cheap b******


I am a very generous tipper--*at sit-down restaurants*. There are a couple coffeehouses around here where you can run up to the counter for a take-out or grab a couch for a more leisurely cuppa. An employee gives you a menu, takes your order, and brings you your beverage (and/or your snack). And I tip him or her. I even tip Chinese buffet "servers" who really only top off your water and take away your empty plates.

But I don't tip for counter service unless I know I really make the person behind the counter jump through hoops for my order--and I almost never do. My drinks are barely customized and I don't order six of them right at closing. I appreciate my baristas and I show that appreciation by visiting often. End of story.


"Tipping makes us love you, and when we love you we make better drinks for you, give them to you faster, etc. "

How about this.

You were trained when you were hired. Make it correctly. Every time. Hand it to the customer when it's ready.

If you are deliberately making it incorrectly or delaying handing it over, you should be disciplined or fired.

And, yes, lose the pretense. "I'll have the large latte, please." means give me the big cup, no backtalk.


If I frequent a coffee place, I'll tip a buck every 3rd or 4th time I go. And only to people I actually know. But when I tip the coffee cart guy I go to here in Manhattan, he always looks at me funny. I must be his only customer that tips.


While I generally believe that starbucks is ridiculously overpriced, I still think that the baristas deserve to get a tip. I mean, they put up with a lot of shit from people who are mean and nasty until they get their morning cup of joe.

When I'm on a trip to my local starbucks (there are upwards of 64 stores within five miles of my apartment), if I see that the barista on duty that day is working particularly hard, I'll throw a few bucks their way. When I get a bitter and angry barista, I won't tip a dime because they don't deserve it.

I would tip my local barista more money more often if I knew that the money was going specifically to them because some of my local baristas work really hard and deserve every spare dime they can get. PLEASE REMEMBER TO TIP YOUR FAVORITE BARISTA!


In response to P Mac's "During the morning rush these people are on their feet and working hard doing stocking and clean up work on the fly that most customers don't consider as part of the process. "
Well first of all, how hard is it to clean up six square feet of floor and counter? Isnt that expected in ANY food or beverage store? It's not necessary to tip someone for doing the job they're already getting paid for. Not enough money? Look for another job.
Second, ive worked as a cashier at a popular retail store, and was on my feet for 12 hours a day, and i didnt just do the register. I had to clean the desk, displays, windows, fold clothes, place orders, run down to the stock room. Things that werent part of my job description. You think people tipped me after i rang up, folded and bagged $2000 worth of jeans and t-shirts?? Nope.
Starbucks shouldnt be expecting a tip, THAT is more insulting than customers not leaving one.

Former Scooper

Having worked as a countergirl at several pseudo-classy fast food places, I must say that the pooling of tips is truly not the worst that happens. Whilst I was working at a particularly progressive ice cream shop, my employer, who paid us the state's minimum wage, would take the contents of the tip jar at the end of each week and donate them to his charity of choice. That always drove me bonkers. I would not have cared had there not been a tip jar, but those customers that chose to put their change in it thought they were tipping us, and even if the money went to a good cause, it was still dishonest. Also, the obnoxiousness of our the shop's wealthy owner deciding that the 4.35 an hour he paid us was more than enough and that he should give any "overage" away sort of sucked.


I tip nothing.
YOu get $3.00 for a cup of coffee.
You're not paid as 'tipped employees'.
Should I tip my deli guy?
Should I tip the Macy's counter person?

stop .... please.


I only tip when I'm on my way back from a Bris.

Your Dad

I will gladly tip the first barista who doesn't try to correct me when I say I want a "medium" coffee. Not "benti" or "crumpo" or whatever the hell made-up word Starbucks uses, I want a MEDIUM coffee. Sadly no barista has been able to resist this temptation to date.

And the theory that Starbucks employees deserve a tip because they have to put up with grumpy people in the AM...well, maybe you shouldn't work in a COFFEE SHOP if you can't handle moody morning people! That's like working in a body shop if you don't like cars.

And for the record, the National Restaurant Association of America (widely regarded in the restaurant industry as a leading-edge trade association) lists Starbucks under "QSR", which means quick service restaurant. If Starbucks were "fine-dining" it would be listed under "FSR" (full service restaurant) so blow that theory away too.

The coffee at Starbucks is excellent, but if the company ever wants to shed their reputation as a snobby overpriced outfit then they will pull the tip jars altogether & improve employee compensation in some other way.


They're freaking baristas. They are the scum of the earth who are lazy as hell.

When you go to McDonalds, do you tip? When you go to In-N-Out, do you tip? Those kids work 10 times harder than the coffee brats at Starbucks, but we aren't compelled to tip them.

Plus, corporate coffee sucks. Drink Peets!!


Everyone should have to work in the service industry...You can tell from reading these posts who has and hasn't done so, because people who have understand the importance of tipping in the U.S.

Starbucks pays above minimum wage, true, but minimum wage is still too low for most people to live on. And do you really think the "baristas" (this is poncey, yes) are working there for their health?

Actually, yes they are. Health benefits are one of the only reasons to take a job slinging coffee to yupsters & suits over a waitressing gig. Having done both, I can say the job slinging coffee is slightly easier - but then tips should reflect that. A quarter or fifty-cent tip for a couple of coffees is reasonable.

I, however, get my coffee from a street vendor for $1 every day and it tastes much better than burned-up icky sludge they make at *$$. Although you don't often see Nathan Lane trudging around in his sweatpants at the street vendor like you do at Columbus Circle...

On a side note, why are the bathrooms at *$$ always so disgusting?


I HAVE worked in the service business. I've barbacked, bartended and waited tables. I was smart enough not do it for too long, get a real job and not get to be some bitter prick thinking that my customers owe me something extra for doing my shitty job. It was MY choice for getting a lousy job. get over it.
Now I GET to be a demanding customer ... why?? BECAUSE I'M PAYING TO BE!


I will always leave a tip at the smaller, hipster, local ma and pa coffee shops.

But at Starbucks? No way. It is a huge corporate entity where workers have the luxury of health benefits etc. It isn't quite the same folks.


I tip a quarter every time. It's not a big deal, I think I can spare the money (otherwise, I'd drink my homebrew), and the act of acknowledging the people behind the counter seems to me, a human gesture-- and a more tangible one than a big smile and flashing a peace sign.


Why do you all care so much one way or the other? Why do you have to discuss this ad vomitus? Who cares if Starbucks employees have it easy? Who cares if they don't? Lets discuss something meaningful. Like the impact of mormonism on modern life.


I go through at least two large Starbucks red-eyes (filter coffee with espresso) a day. I'll generally throw whatever change I have from $3 into the tip jar. About half of the crew at the Starbucks I go to seem to recognize me and will have my coffee ready by the time I get to the til. They often undercharge - occasionally they don't charge me at all - and they always give a friendly greeting.

I figure that's worth an extra .34c or so a coffee.

Simply stated, fuck you and your tips. You're there to do a job, so do it! You are not providing a service other than to jerk my cappucino when I ask for it. Jesus christ! You and the assholes who put a plastic tip jar at the ice cream parlor and the pizza joint are all the same. Eventually, under your logic, all tasks performed will require tips. Perhaps I'll attach a jar in some way to my belt and when I vacuum the floor at home, or clean off the counter top, my wife can throw some change in there for me. This logic, that all work requires a tip, is why our society is in such an irreparable state right now. Customer service in most places (how many times have you heard the tired story of the retail clerk with the blank stare) is abyssmal. YOU are the reason why.


$0 is a good tip at Starbucks. Same as at the supermarket or Taco Bell. I don't see the difference. I only tip if they are bringing the product to me at a table.


They serve coffee for christ sakes, its not rocket science. You're lucky to get a thank you.


Bow wow wow. Woof woof woof. Wizz wizz wizz. Sniff sniff sniff. I love french poodles!


I will always tip the cute guy who says:
"Thanks a latte. Have a grande", because seriously people, puns are funny.


The corporatization of America is making us fat, lazy, and apathetic..."get a real job"? Tell that to an actress or musician or writer who's trying to make it without selling out to some stupid corporate 9 - 5 job. Just because you have one doesn't mean the rest of us aren't owed a decent living for doing the grunt work.

Got it?


My take on tipping at a Starbucks is based on the outfit. I normally don't have pockets or a purse to put my change in, so I will drop my change in the jar automatically. HOWEVER, if I enter a Starbucks that I didn't have good service from on a previous visit, I will clinch my sweaty palm around it until I can drop it in a bag or on my desk. And for the one or two times I've caught a Starbuck right before closing, I've dropped two bucks.


I used to work in a coffee shop similar to starbucks. All of us appreciated tips of any kind, even if it was simply the change left over from the purchase of coffee. I always leave at least that much--even for drip coffee--and sometimes more if the server is particularly nice, helpful, etc.

On a tangential note, I really think everyone should be forced to work at least one job in the service sector. Makes you much more sensitive to issues like tipping. I know it did for me.


hey, got linked here by gawker, here's my thoughts:

1. i know it's annoying, but not only are we technically not allowed to use small/medium/large in our vocabulary, when a customer orders a drink using s/m/l, we're supposed to 'repeat' the order using tall/grade/vente terminology. i can't say for all baristas, but when i do it, it's not backtalk, it's a clarification i have to make or else i get reprimanded.

2. c'mon people, you tip what you want to tip, nobody's judging you. most of the time, the person taking your order and the person making your drink aren't the same person, so it's not like if you don't tip i'm going to know and spit in your caramel macchiato before i hand it over to you. i don't care if you tip or not, and neither do the people i work with, unless you're one of those people who order 10 of those damn frappucinos and ask for extra extra caramel extra thick with the whipped cream blended in, on the bottom, in the middle, and on top, and expect me not to charge you extra for it.

3. as to the argument that starbucks is overpriced as it is...why use that as a justification for not tipping? if you don't want to tip, don't tip. if it's too expensive for your tastes or you don't like the service methodology, don't go -- this isn't like grade school where if you didn't have that new kids on the block backpack, you'd be ostracized for life. if other people want to go and waste their vacation money or their kid's college fund on a venti extra hot soy vanilla latte everyday, why does that bother you? i know how expensive these drinks are, and yes if it makes you feel better, sometimes i feel guilty about how expensive they are, but that doesn't mean i can't work here. in the grand scheme of things, i could be doing much worse, like packing cigarettes for a living, working for a right-wing think tank, not voting, driving an suv instead of a more fuel-efficient vehicle, not calling my mother at least once a month,.....--you know, that sorta thing.

4. i don't know if they stil teach this with the new hires, but when i was trained as a barista, they gave me a list of rules and a 15 minute lecture on tips and what i was and wasn't allowed to regarding tips (ie position of the tip jar, what graphics or words were allowed on the tip jar, the scripted speech i'm supposed to stick to, etc.), all of which can be summarized as follows: don't mention it, don't look at it, don't think about it. if you get some, gravy, if not -- no sweat.

5. i do have to put up with a lot of grumpy folks, but so does everyone. however, if getting a tip from you means that you have the right to be as grumpy as you want.... thanks, but no thanks.


I never tip at chain restaurants unless it's a sit-down place where they bring the food (i.e. Red Robin). The only reason I'd tip for a non-sit-down place is if it's local and I want them to stay in business, or if I just really like the food and I'm happy it's available. With chain restaurants, neither of those rules apply. I'd take a local coffee kiosk (of which our town has tons) over a Starbucks anyday, but mostly for the cost. That, and stores like Starbucks and Walmart really bother me with their ruthlessness.

An employee

I've been a Starbucks counter employee for two years. Perusing the entries in this debate, I note a degree of free-floating hostility that requires some corrective comment. If we as service employees "ask" for a tip by putting a tip jar out, in what way are we harming, harassing or even annoying anyone? Obviously we are not doing any of those things; thus, the anger directed by some of the above commenters must have its source elsewhere. I think I know what that is: the "upscale" lifestyle we purvey. Having travelled widely in Europe, I cannot help but note, by contrast, how instinctually resentful the average American is of anything -- be it a person, a restaurant or a product -- that bespeaks deviation in any degree from the utilitarianism that dominates American commercial culture. Certain rarified enclaves excepted (Manhattan's upper east side, for instance), American aesthetic values start and end with the middlebrow -- that's where the customers are. A place like Starbucks -- that tries for a kind of pseudo-bohemian elegance (and speaks in foreign tongues of "latte" and "grande" etc) -- inevitably confuses and disturbs the Average Man, threatening his faith in an equal entitlement to the trough. In short, this tipping "controversy" is masking the true hidden battle of our times: will we or will we not grow up?


One (1) large coffee at Starbucks does not cost $4.00, you liars. Here's a clue: If you see a tip jar, use it. If you do not tip, you are a cheap bastard. Tipping has nothing to do with how much one makes or how hard one works, it's a custom in this country. Perhaps you just got off the boat. If so, welcome! This is a tip jar. Use it. This is how respectable, polite society behaves. Thank you.


Thank you squarekitty...you have summarized it completely...end of discussion.


Zero. Understand? Zero.


First, to Melindarocks - a bathroom's cleanliness is a direct correlation of the cleanliness of the kitchen or food prepartion area. Ask any health inspector, and he/she will tell you the same thing. So, that says a lot about how dirty Starcraps is.

Second, to all the whiners who say "work in a service industry" - I have, and still think the tip thing at Starbucks is crap, and won't tip. Will I tip at Chipotle or La Salsa? Yes, because those kids are working their butts off, and you know they are working to make a better life for themselves, not spoiled middle-class slackers like the workers I run into at Starcraps.


...I meant to say perfectly as well, squarekitty. Thank you...


Funny someone mentioned McDonalds up there. I prefer McDonald's coffee to Starbucks every single day of the week. Starbucks should be trimming the 1000 calories drinks they serve down to like 500. They're helping to make the country fatter than ever. And yeah yeah I understand that people have a choice, you bet, but it's a two way street. If we had healthier choices it would be a lot easier.

I just don't think people have a clue that the coffee drinks served have as much fat and sugar as ice cream and a whopper.

Starbucks = Gross!

And really, you stand behind a counter, you have an eaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasy job. I've worked for oh let's see, at least 10 fast food joints in my time and trust me that work is a whole lot harder, sweatier, dirtier and you're surrounded by even Worse food.

If I'm going to tip Anyone outside the restaurant genre it would be fast food workers. They have the true shit jobs.

If you don't like what you get paid or your working conditions we have a remedy for that, it's called an education, go get one so you can get out of the coffee shop business.

Buh bye


I'll tip when they declare the tips on their income taxes.

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