Pressured To Tip? iPad Point of Sale Software More Than Doubles Chance of Gratuity

Unrecognizable female customer paying for a juice with a credit card at a juice bar and friendly asian salesman doing the checkout.
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This spring, GoBankingRates reported on hidden restaurant charges, including “suggested” tips at the point-of-sale when purchases are processed through iPad terminals or tabletop kiosks.

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These iPad prompts, especially for take-out service where you may not normally leave a tip, often pressure patrons to tip — especially when the cashier hovers over you expectantly. “It’s awkward and you have little time to think, [so] you check the 20% option because it’s expeditious,” Julie Paulson, a long-term-care volunteer in San Antonio, Texas, told GoBankingRates.

Based on a TikTok video that recently went viral, Paulson isn’t the only one who feels that way. TikToker Aubrey Grace (@aubreygracep) shared a video showcasing a simulated experience of having to decide “tip or no tip?” for an iced chai. The text on the video reads, “The pressure to tip.”

The video, which has reached more than 208,500 views as of early July 14, prompted thousands of comments. Many servers who commented agreed that the whole situation is awkward for both parties involved. But many baristas and servers pointed out that a large portion of their income is generated by tips.

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“Baristas at coffee shops usually get paid minimum wage — y’all have no idea how much tips help us pay our bills, we really appreciate it,” one TikTok commenter said.

A commenter with the TikTok name catfasoldt pointed out that “it’s awkward either way,” whether you’re the customer or the server.

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However awkward it may be, it is apparently helping to increase income for food service employees, research shows. Toast, a point-of-sale software company, found that businesses using its software, which prompts customers to leave a tip, receive tips on roughly 60% of card sales, versus 28% for business that give customers a paper receipt and leave a tip jar for cash on the counter, iDropNews reported.

As minimum wage increased in 24 states in 2021, and 25 states have either increased or will be increasing minimum wage in 2022, according to PeopleReady, there is hope that food service workers will become less reliant on tips in the future.

In the meantime, the debate will continue. And as consumers try to manage expenses in the face of rising inflation, it’s important to factor in a tip — but not feel pressured to tip more than you can afford, especially for take-out service.

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Keep in mind that until Federal minimum wage laws are passed to make it possible for food service workers to earn a living wage on salary alone, tips do matter.

“I will be honest,” TikTok commenter melalban1 from California said, “I’m a barista and the tips do make a huge difference in my life financially. It shouldn’t be pressure, just a gesture of kindness.”

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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