Going to Starbucks is a daily ritual for many people across the world. With its convenient locations, trademark drinks, and friendly baristas, it’s no wonder Starbucks is one of the most popular coffee chains today.

But if you’re a frequent Starbucks customer, you may be wondering—do the baristas get to keep the tips you leave at the counter? This is a common question for many Starbucks regulars who want to show their gratitude for good service by leaving a little extra cash for their barista.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Starbucks baristas in the United States are allowed to keep tips, though policies vary internationally. Tips are shared among all baristas during each shift.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at Starbucks’ tipping policies for baristas in the US and worldwide. We’ll cover whether baristas get to keep tips, if tips are pooled and shared, tipping etiquette in different countries, how tips affect barista pay and benefits, and more.

We’ll also provide tips (no pun intended) for customers on how to tip at Starbucks. Let’s dive in!

Starbucks Baristas in the US Can Keep Tips

Starbucks, the popular coffee chain, allows its baristas in the United States to keep the tips they receive. This policy has been in place for several years and is intended to provide an additional source of income for the hardworking baristas who serve customers with a smile every day.

Let’s take a detailed look at how tips are handled at Starbucks.

Tips Are Pooled and Shared Equally

At Starbucks, tips are pooled and shared equally among all eligible employees. This means that the tips collected throughout the day are combined and then divided among the baristas based on the number of hours they have worked.

This system ensures that each barista receives a fair share of the tips, regardless of their shift or position within the store.

This pooling and sharing of tips creates a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among the baristas, as they all have a vested interest in providing excellent service to customers and maximizing the tips they receive.

It also helps to create a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone is motivated to work together towards a common goal.

Exceptions for Some Licensed Stores

While Starbucks-owned stores follow the policy of pooling and sharing tips, there are some exceptions for licensed stores. Licensed stores are operated by third-party companies, such as grocery stores or airports, under a licensing agreement with Starbucks.

In these cases, the tipping policy may vary depending on the agreement between Starbucks and the licensed store operator.

However, it is worth noting that Starbucks encourages licensed stores to adopt a similar tipping policy to ensure consistency and fairness for baristas across all locations. This helps to maintain the overall positive experience that customers have come to expect from Starbucks, regardless of whether they are visiting a company-owned store or a licensed store.

Tips Complement Base Pay and Benefits

While tips can provide an additional source of income for Starbucks baristas, it is important to remember that they are meant to complement the base pay and benefits that Starbucks provides to its employees.

Starbucks offers competitive wages, comprehensive healthcare benefits, and various other perks, such as stock options and tuition reimbursement programs.

By allowing baristas to keep tips, Starbucks recognizes and appreciates the hard work and dedication of its employees. It serves as a token of appreciation from customers who value the exceptional service provided by Starbucks baristas.

These tips can make a difference in the lives of baristas, helping them to cover expenses, pursue their goals, and enhance their overall well-being.

Tipping Policies Vary Internationally

When it comes to tipping, Starbucks baristas around the world face different policies and customs. In some countries, tipping is not accepted or expected, while in others it is more common. It is important for both customers and baristas to be aware of these variations to avoid any misunderstandings or awkward situations.

Tips Not Accepted in Some Asian Countries

In countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, tipping is not a part of the culture. It is actually considered rude or even insulting to leave a tip at a Starbucks in these countries. The salary of the baristas already includes service charges, so customers can enjoy their coffee without worrying about tipping.

If you visit Starbucks in these countries, don’t be surprised if your tip is politely declined or returned to you.

Tips Less Common in UK and Europe

In the United Kingdom and many countries in Europe, tipping at Starbucks is less common than in the United States. While it is not expected, leaving a small tip is still appreciated by baristas. In the UK, for example, customers may choose to round up the bill or leave some loose change as a gesture of gratitude.

However, it is not customary to leave a tip equivalent to a certain percentage of the total bill, as is often done in the US.

Check Local Customs Before Tipping Overseas

When traveling overseas and visiting Starbucks, it is always a good idea to check the local customs regarding tipping. Different countries and regions may have their own unique practices when it comes to tipping, and it is important to respect and follow these customs.

A quick internet search or asking the barista directly can provide you with the necessary information. Additionally, websites such as TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet can also be helpful resources for understanding tipping etiquette in different countries.

Remember, tipping is not mandatory, but it is a way to show appreciation for the service provided. Whether you choose to tip or not, a smile and a “thank you” can go a long way in making your barista’s day a little brighter!

Tipping Etiquette and Best Practices at Starbucks

Cash Tips Preferred Over App Tips

When it comes to tipping at Starbucks, it’s important to know that baristas greatly appreciate cash tips over tips made through the app. While the app tipping feature is convenient, it often takes time for the tips to be distributed to the staff members.

However, when you leave a cash tip in the tip jar at the counter, baristas can immediately split and take their share of the tips at the end of their shift. So, if you’re looking to show your appreciation for their hard work, consider leaving some spare change or a few dollars in the tip jar.

Any Amount Is Appreciated

It’s important to remember that any amount of tip is appreciated by Starbucks baristas. Whether it’s a small amount or a more generous tip, the gesture itself is what matters. Even if you can only spare a few cents, it can still make a difference and brighten a barista’s day.

So, don’t feel obligated to give a large tip if you can’t afford it. Every little bit helps and is appreciated by the hardworking baristas.

Consider Tipping for Large Orders

Another tip to keep in mind is to consider tipping when placing large orders at Starbucks. If you’re ordering for a group or a business meeting, the baristas have likely put in extra effort to ensure your order is accurate and delivered promptly.

In these cases, it’s a thoughtful gesture to leave a slightly larger tip to show your gratitude for their hard work. It’s not mandatory, but it’s a nice way to acknowledge the extra effort put in by the baristas.

How Tips Contribute to Barista Pay and Morale

One of the perks of being a Starbucks barista is the potential to receive tips from customers. Tips can make a significant impact on a barista’s overall earnings and can act as a great source of motivation and appreciation. Let’s take a closer look at how tips contribute to barista pay and morale.

Tips Help Increase Earnings

Receiving tips is a way for baristas to supplement their base salary and increase their overall earnings. While the exact amount of tips a barista receives can vary, it is not uncommon for tips to make up a substantial portion of their income.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, baristas who receive tips can earn up to 15% more than those who do not.

Moreover, tips provide baristas with a sense of financial stability and can help them cover expenses such as rent, bills, or education costs. This extra income can make a significant difference in their quality of life and overall job satisfaction.

Shared Tips Promote Teamwork

At Starbucks, tips are typically pooled and distributed among all the staff members. This practice not only ensures a fair distribution of tips but also encourages teamwork and collaboration among the baristas.

When tips are shared, it creates a sense of unity and fosters a supportive work environment.

By pooling tips, baristas are motivated to work together as a team to provide exceptional service to customers. This promotes a culture of cooperation and helps to maintain high standards of customer satisfaction.

When everyone benefits from the tips, it creates a positive and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace.

Show Appreciation for Good Service

Tips are a tangible way for customers to show appreciation for the exceptional service provided by baristas. When customers leave a tip, it not only signifies their satisfaction but also serves as a gesture of gratitude for the barista’s hard work and dedication.

Baristas take pride in their work and strive to create a positive experience for every customer. When customers tip, it validates their efforts and boosts their morale. This positive reinforcement encourages baristas to continue delivering outstanding service and ensures that customers receive the best possible experience during their visit to Starbucks.


Whether you’re a Starbucks barista or a customer wondering if tipping is appropriate, we hope this guide provided useful information on Starbucks’ tipping policies. The next time you grab your morning coffee or tea, consider leaving a little extra for the hardworking baristas—it can go a long way in brightening their day and showing that you appreciate their service.

But most importantly, tip however you feel comfortable based on the service you receive. The baristas will surely be grateful for any gratuity you choose to leave!

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