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Coffee shop/bakery: What Do You Do with The Tip Line on A Credit Card Slip ?

I was taken aback twice this month. I went to 2 different coffee shops with baked goods and paid with a credit card. My credit card slip had the amount of the purchase (coffee and a bakery item) and a line for a tip and then the total.

What are people's opinion's on what to do with the tip line? I mean, I'm asking the person behind the cash register to pour me a cup of coffee and open the bakery case to hand me my food item. I will occasionally put $$ into a tip jar if I'm a regular customer but it's not something I do automatically.

Maybe it's psychological but a tip jar feels more optional to me than a printed line and a total line, just like you'd see in a restaurant. In fact, at one of the shops, I signed it and didn't fill out either line and the server said "you need to total it" --- felt very uncomfortable.

Thoughts / opinions?

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  1. So you're saying these places have sit down seating but you're taking out? Unless they did something extra for me, I'd just put a line through the tip space and write the total. I don't think they're necessarily expecting you to tip, they just have one POS system that needs to have space for tips to those who eat in.

    1. I write a line through it and then write the total again. I thought everyone did until my girlfriend said she actually tips on takeout orders. The POS system just puts the tip line in automatically, I don't think people expect you to tip (although I'm sure they don't mind).

      1. Tip (or don't) as you would do if paying cash.

        In case of credit card or debit, most system now support adding the tip via the hand-held terminal; if the tip is added on the slip, just write it there (it's acceptable to leave 75c (for example) to round up a coffee and pastries) or just cross a line on the tip section.

        No issue

        1. If all they're doing is handing me a product, say, tea and a muffin, I don't add a tip. If it's a true takeout order (food packaged neatly with the correct condiments, utensils, etc.), I tip $3-4. It seems like many places just use systems that have a tip line added automatically. I don't worry about it- just scratch a line through, put the original total, and sign.

          1. Just by way of clarification - these have been bakery/cafes but no table service. You order your coffee and pastry at a counter, they either bag your pastry or put it on a plate. These places work the same way that a Starbucks or other coffee chain does - you order and get everything at the register and they have some tables/chairs if you want to eat them there.

            1. The safe way to not tip is to draw a line through the tip space and copy the bill total into the total space. That is just to prevent anyone from altering the signed receipt. So that's probably why the shop had a policy that you needed to fill in the total even if it wasn't adjusted with a tip.

              Standard coffee tip is $1 per drink, just like drinks at a bar. You are free to dislike that standard of course, but it exists which is why a coffee shop will always have a tip line on their receipts. Most people do use it. Personally I (a barista, sometimes) might not always tip for a muffin and drip coffee, but certainly anyone coming in and ordering an espresso drink would need the option to leave a tip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yellowstone

                We have this problem where I work. We're a large hospital, and have many cafeterias and dining options. They all use the same cash registers, which print tip lines on the receipts. Although, the only people allowed to accept tips are the employees at the coffee stand.

                I work in the pharmacy, and since we're on the same POS (cash register) system, our receipts also print the tip line. We have a policy that the person signing has to cross out the tip line and re-write the total at the bottom, just to protect everyone involved and make it clear that no one was providing a tip, and the patients were charged only for the items they purchased.

              2. it'll be because of the way the credit card machine is programmed - we stayed in accommodation in a US National Park recently and there was a line on the credit card receipt for a tip but the clerk said not to fill it in as they can not accept tips (being Federal employees I assume) but it was a new machine and they hadn't figured out how to reprogram the machine to stop it asking for tips.

                1. I was just going to comment on the how to deal with the tip line until I read all the replies and noticed that many people referred to the point of sale (POS) system functions. I am with Sintel Systems and we provide POS systems to a variety of industries, so I will address and try to clarify both issues.

                  1. Tip Line: Tipping is a function of the service you receive. As an example, when I get my coffee to go in the morning, I typically tip because I enjoy the extra effort the person puts in greeting me and smiling. That to me is good customer service. There is a tip jar there so when I pay with a credit card, I write "Cash" on the tip line, write the total, and put the cash in the jar. Tipping in any case is optional and is meant to correspond to the level of service you receive.

                  2. Point of Sale - There are two components to the POS system which allow for the generation of the tip line. Our systems integrate the POS system with the credit card/merchant account, but they are technically still two components.

                  First, there is manner in which the credit card/merchant account is set up. Typically with food-related places there are two ways the can be set up. Either 1) Restaurant or 2) Retail. As an example, our frozen yogurt clients are set up as retail while all our pizza customers are set up as restaurant. The establishment can only accept tips if its merchant account is set up as restaurant.

                  Second is the POS system set up. As an example, the administrator can set up the software to accept tips or not. So it is up to the owner to include this line or not. However, an owner can choose to add the tip line with the POS software on a systems which is set up as a retail operation, but even if you put the tip on there, the merchant account will not process it. This is probably what happened in regards to the comment posted regarding the US National Park incident. It was the POS system that was programmed and not the credit card machine.

                  Bottom Line: Tip for the right service.

                  1. I would say the tip line is there so that people who appreciate good customer service can express such by leaving a little something extra for the person behind the counter who is most likely not earning a living wage without that little extra left by customers. I have worked in food service for over fifteen years, and as a barista specifically for at least twelve.

                    It is possible that all you are acknowledging that was done for you was grabbing a pastry and stuffing it in a bag, then pumping coffee into a paper cup and taking your money. But that coffee didn't magically appear in the pot. And hopefully the coffee tastes good because someone went to the trouble to clean that pot out. And the person behind that counter got up for work at 4 am to be there in time to receive and put away those pastries, before (s)he had coffee and still managed to serve you with a smile even though her dog just died and it's the anniversary of her mothers death. And if you're eating in, sure your pastry just got tossed onto a plate, but who do you think is bussing and washing said plate? A barista's job isn't limited to making coffee. Often times we are the server, bartender, bus boy, janitor, plumber, electrician, and therapist. For less than minimum wage we serve you with a smile and hope that you will respond in kind and show your appreciation by acknowledging that tip line. It's likely that $1 doesn't make much difference to you, but trust that it makes a huge difference in my day/ability to pay those ever-growing bills.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hansadoer

                      What you were doing is called, your job. If you had a problem doing the other work that you mentioned, you should have complained to your boss and told them it's not part of your job description. Do not expect to make a living by simply handing me my coffee (which I paid for) and greeted me with a smile (totally optional). You have to get up at 4? Get a job that lets you get up at noon. It is what it is.

                    2. Either tip, or don't tip, as you feel is appropriate. But please do write the total you are paying in the appropriate space, and sign the slip. Especially, sign the slip if you are leaving a tip.

                      1. I have a coffee shop and bakery in Eastern NC. We also have a deli. We take trays to the table, but the customer is suppose to clean their own table.All my employees make over $7.50/hour. Some are making over $10. I never wanted a tip jar but unfortunately have one because an employee put one out on the counter and my employees are very selfish about the tips. With my first merchant company there was not a tip line on the credit card receipt. The 2nd merchant credit card company I went with, we put a tip line on the receipts because we have some corporate customers that want to include a tip. I truly feel it should be a service charge, and not a tip line because when we have big parties, I the owner, have to hire an extra person, there is more work in the kitchen, and more expense for the deli over all and not to mention when we deliver and it is my vehicle and insurance. So to answer your question, coffee shops and bakeries that have the tip line on there for regular customers. I would not leave a tip. I feel it should be a law that all employees including waiters should be paid at least minimum wage and tips should be band. I am going to change my credit card receipts, because no one here is getting paid $2.14/hour.