Customers tipping for takeout has decreased by 14.5% since 2020. Shake Shack has come under fire for asking customers to tip their workers, prompting a debate over whether it's appropriate given that these meals were purchased without human interaction.
TikToker Alexis Nido-Russo (@locaelclectic) went viral on the popular social media application after calling out a Shake Shack location for putting a tipping option on a self-checkout kiosk.
The self-checking kiosk at Shake Shack asks customers to tip workers
"'I ordered on a screen by myself'," she says in the video. "no one helped me."
Nido-Russo says in the video viewed over 66,000 times:
"This blew my mind. So yesterday, I went to Shake Shack, and first of all, they only had the option for me to do like self-checkout, so I ordered on a screen by myself—no one helped me. And then they present me with this screen."
The kiosks screen asks customers to tip the team members 10%, 15% or add their own custom tip or not tip at all.
Many people agreed with her sentiment about the lack of human interaction at many fast food chains today.
One comment said, "Doing that at Steak and Shake, like who am I going to tip? Myself? I picked it up from the counter."
Another comments,"The screen at the automated car wash asked if I wanted to tip? Who am I tipping? The robot arms?"
Others say they do not tip fast food workers: "Tipping is for restaurants where people are serving you at your table, period."
But a few people disagree: "There are still people making the food."
The most highly-rated comment says, "They need to pay their employees a living wage instead of placing the burden on their customers."
Cashless transactions could be causing a decline in tips for servers
Eric Plam, the founder and CEO of a startup company called Uptip, told CNBC that the increasing number of cashless transactions has also caused a decrease in the types of tips that customers leave for servers.
Despite the increasing number of cashless transactions, Plam notes because of the service industry's low pay, it is essential for businesses to have a method to collect and distribute tips.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the average wage for fast food and counter workers is about $14.34 an hour, and a new California law could raise fast-food workers' minimum wage to $22 an hour in January, 2023
There are over 218 Shake Shack locations in the US. New York has 38 locations, which is the most number of the company's locations in the country. There are also 26 locations in California, which is about 11% of the company's total number of locations and one store for every 1519,700 people in California (via Rentechdigital).
Even as we're moving toward technology, many shoppers still want and maybe even expect human interaction. To be told that they tip a machine might rub some people the wrong way—and judging by the response, they are right.
Shake Shack is one of many companies asking for tips at their kiosks; no one knows what effects this will ultimately have on tipping culture. Stay tuned.
What do you think about this?
Are you concerned about the impact online ordering and kiosk-based ordering in fast food restaurants may have on workers' incomes? Or, are you feeling 'tip fatigue'?
Share your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share this article on social media and with your friends and family if you'd like.
Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.