Who Gets Tips On Starbucks App? (Store? Baristas? Corporate?)

Ah, Starbucks… The land of frothy Frappuccinos, extra hot lattes, and never-ending confusion between “grande” and “venti.” But did you know that in addition to satisfying our caffeine cravings, Starbucks also offers a whole new world of confusion through their app and its tipping feature?

That’s right! Now you can add “electronic tipping awkwardness” to your Starbucks experience. Fear not, for in this informative article, I’ll walk you through the absolute ton of detail regarding this mysterious tipping feature and how it affects your favorite baristas.

So first things first, let’s cover the question in the title… when you tip using the Starbucks app… who gets the tip?

Tipping on the Starbucks app goes directly to the baristas who work in that store during the week. The tips from the app are divided based on the number of hours that each barista worked and then divided based on that.

So if you tip $2 and overall the store has 500 hours that were worked in the week then each barista would get 4/10 of a cent per hour that they worked in the week. If a barista worked 20 hours that week then they would get 8 cents of that $2 tip that you left and the rest would be spread among the other baristas.

So if you have a favorite barista or the one that served you did an excellent job on a specific day you will want to tip them directly so that they can get all of that money rather than splitting it with all of their coworkers.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Starbucks App allows customers to electronically tip baristas, making the process more accessible, convenient, and potentially more frequent.
  2. Tips given through the app are shared among all store employees based on the hours that they worked during a given week.
  3. Baristas’ income can be significantly impacted by app-based tipping, with varying opinions on the tipping feature’s effectiveness and fairness.
  4. Customers may be more motivated to use the Starbucks App for tipping due to the convenience and the potential benefit of building loyal customer-barista relationships.
  5. There are ethical considerations surrounding digital tipping, such as potential tipping biases and the security of personal information.
  6. Starbucks is not alone in the digital tipping world, with other platforms like the Square point-of-sale app also providing similar features.

Tipping culture in general and its significance

Tipping can be compared to rocket science in terms of the complexities involved. In fact, I heard that tipping culture is part of the syllabus at the International School of Astrophysics (don’t quote me on that).

In all seriousness, tipping does play a significant role in the service industry, as it can directly affect workers’ wages and the way customers perceive a business.

There’s a myriad of factors that influence our decision to tip, such as:

  • The level of service provided – Did the barista draw a smiley face on your cup? That’s tip-worthy.
  • Your relationship with the service provider – Let’s be honest, if Karen knows your specific drink order down to the half-pump of toffee nut syrup, she deserves more than a couple of bucks.
  • Regional and local tipping standards – Trust me, whenever I step out of the United States, the feeling of being completely lost in foreign tipping customs is all too real.

As if tipping wasn’t already complicated enough, technology has decided to join the party. And by “technology,” I mean the Starbucks App.

How the Starbucks App tipping feature works

To begin your journey into electronic tipping confusion, you must first download the Starbucks App and create an account. Oh! And don’t forget to link your chosen payment method (Mom Tip: Avoid using your 5-year-old’s piggy bank).

Now, let’s dive into this step-by-step guide on how to use the Starbucks App for tipping:

  1. Place an order: Select your usual Venti-triple-shot-chocolate-chip-and-rainbow-glitter Frappuccino.
  2. Select tip amount: $1, $2, or $5 – choose wisely, young grasshopper.
  3. Process the tip transaction: Confirm your choice of tip, provide your fingerprint (or your face depending on your phone), and voilà! You’ve successfully tipped your barista through an app. Welcome to 21st-century confusion!

Bullet-pointed list of tipping options, because they’re just as confusing as my 8-year-old’s math homework:

  • $1 (Aw, you’re so sweet!)
  • $2 (A little extra love, nice!)
  • $5 (Generosity overload. Are you Santa?)
  • Custom (Oh, daring!)
  • No tip (Ouch, someone’s not happy today.)

Allocating tips on the Starbucks App: Store versus Baristas

Next, we need to address the burning question: Who actually receives the tips given through the Starbucks App?

There are one main ways tips are distributed among store employees:

  1. Tips shared among all store employees: In virtually all cases, tips are pooled and shared among all employees at the store based on the number of hours they worked. So even if Mike slightly burnt your bagel, he’ll still get a portion of your hard-earned tip.

Factors that affect this tip distribution decision-making process include store policies, management preferences, and drumroll… Legal regulations.

Corporate’s role in the Starbucks App’s tipping function

Surprisingly, corporate does play a role in Starbucks App tipping. Starbucks has specific policies on tipping and employee compensation, which influence their app design and subsequent potential awkwardness.

However, the corporate culture surrounding tipping practices and the company’s responsibility in ensuring fair tip distribution are left mostly up to individual stores and their management.

Impact of Starbucks App tipping on baristas’ income

Tips can have a significant effect on a barista’s income, like adding an extra shot of espresso to an employee’s paycheck. Comparing app-based tips to traditional cash tips is like comparing pumps of caramel syrup in a grande caramel macchiato (spoiler alert: there’s four).

Let’s not forget the baristas’ perspective on the tipping feature – whether it’s a new gold mine or a source of frustration depends on whom you ask!

Customer motivation to use the Starbucks App for tipping

Why, oh why, would customers want to participate in this tipping maze, you may ask? Well, let me list a few reasons:

  • Convenience: No need to carry cash or hunt for change in your purse anymore. Just a few taps on your phone, and boom! You’ve tipped your favorite barista.
  • Increased likelihood to tip more frequently: With tipping being a breeze, customers may be more inclined to leave a little extra for their barista friends.
  • Building loyal customer-barista relationships: Regularly tipping through the app can help baristas recognize their favorite customers who not only love their coffee but also appreciate the service they provide.

Ethical considerations of tipping on the Starbucks App

While it may be convenient, digital tipping does raise some ethical considerations:

  • Advantages and disadvantages: While it’s much easier to tip, there’s the potential for tipping less due to having a pre-determined selection.
  • Privacy and data usage: With hackers lurking everywhere, the security of the app and your financial information might be a concern.
  • Tipping biases and inequalities: Digital tipping could lead to unintentional biases based on personal factors or circumstances (We’re all human, after all).

Comparing Starbucks App to other tipping apps and platforms

Believe it or not, Starbucks isn’t the only player in the digital tipping game. Other tipping platforms such as the Square point-of-sale app provide similar features.

With the rise of mobile payment apps, tipping culture is changing, and businesses are adapting to the demand for convenient, contactless, and digital tipping solutions.


If you’ve made it this far, you deserve an extra-large, extra shot, extra whip Starbucks concoction! In summary, the Starbucks App tipping feature can be a source of confusion and questionable decision-making, but it’s an integral part of modern tipping culture.

By understanding how your tips are allocated and distributed, you can thoughtfully use the app to support your favorite baristas in the digital age.

Because after all, a well-tipped barista is a happy barista. And a happy barista makes a happy coffee customer. So go forth, caffeinate, and tip wisely!

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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