This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Will We Find Digital Tipping at McDonald's? Not Likely

Stocks in this article: SBUX MCD AAPLCMG DPZ YUM

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Starbucks (SBUX) may be encouraging customers to digitally tip their baristas, through its updated Apple (AAPL) iPhone app, but consumers aren't interested in the feature to be used at quick-serve establishments like McDonald's (MCD) or Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Course the issue of tipping is twofold. First, is the issue of do employees working at non-full service establishments and preparing food and beverages deserve tips? The second issue is, would you tip via your smartphone? According to a nationwide telephone survey conducted for TheStreet by GfK, 60% said that even if mobile apps made it possible to tip workers at fast-food places like McDonald's and fast-casual establishments like Five Guys, having that digital aspect doesn't make them more inclined to tip.

The survey polled 1,005 random respondents via landline and cell phones between March 21 and March 23, 2014.

That said, 36% of respondents, said they would use their smartphones to tip fast-food and fast-casual workers. Interestingly enough, approximately 63% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said they would digitally tip, while only 30% of those ages 50 to 64 said they would do so. As a result, the biggest age bracket that said no to mobile tipping were respondents ages 50 to 64, with 68% of the group saying they wouldn't digitally tip quick-serve workers.

The survey also found that 45% of those making less than $50,000 said they would tip, while 30% of respondents making more than $50,000 said they would digitally tip.

For the most part, fast-food chains and their stepped up cousins -- fast-casual eateries -- are just getting on board when it comes to mobile apps. The functionality of restaurants apps varies widely. Restaurants like Yum! Brands (YUM) Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, Chipotle (CMG) and others have mainly been focusing on the mobile ordering part of their smartphone apps. Taco Bell said last month it plans to roll out mobile ordering at 6,000 locations later this year.

Starbucks has been at the forefront of mobile payments for food and beverage establishments, and is presumably one of the first chains to allow for tipping via smartphones. Offline, Starbucks baristas have been accepting tips for years and who hasn't at some point put extra change from their lattes in the established tip jar?

But what if more companies did it and provided an easy way to tip through our smartphone? We tip the pizza delivery guy, whether he's from Pizza Hut, Domino's (DPZ) or our local independent pizzeria, why not the person that makes the pizza or burgers all with the tap of our smartphone? Starbucks is doing it, and there are a handful of independent apps hooking up with full-service restaurants to make paying and tipping easier through smartphone technology.

The digital wallet is a hot topic these days. Is it so far-fetched to think that one day Pizza Hut's mobile app will have a tipping option as well? Just a thought.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs