Home Food Panera Bread The new tipping feature when checking out. It's got to go

Panera Bread  -  The new tipping feature when checking out. It's got to go

Author of the complaint
10:49 am EDT
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I use Panera a lot of catering my business lunches and I also go personally probably 3-4 times a month. I was taken back the last two times that I was there to find that on the credit card swipe machine, that there was now an option to leave a tip for the cashier.

I was in the food industry for 10 years and understand a respect the need for tipping. I don't agree with how and when this feature is being used, actually I don't think that it should be used at all. What exactly am I tipping for? This isn't a sit down restaurant where I'm being waited on. What ends up happening in my experience is the person behind the counter is there staring at you while you have to make this decision to either tip or to not tip. I have felt obligated in both instances to tip for this very reason when I don't agree with this new feature in the first place.

I love the food and the service at Panera, but this new feature of asking for tips at checkout has me thinking that I'm going to find someone else for lunch and catering. It's unnecessary. The workers at Panera do nothing more then any other fast food chain do, I'm perplexed why I'm not being asked for a tip.

Put out a jar.. it's less invasive.


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Dec 24, 2021 4:40 pm EST

Panera’s tips do NOT go just to the cashier. they are evenly split based on hours worked, amongst all staff that worked that day. this includes: cashiers, barista, bakery, line, qc, dishwasher, and prep. (it might include managers but i’m not sure as i forgot to ask the last time they handed out the cash tips)
doing cash tip jars actually makes it harder to distribute the tips evenly and fairly.

If you don’t work at panera, stop talking about where you perceive the tips go as if it were a fact. additionally, it doesn’t force you to pick a tip amount. the first box is “no tip” second is less than a dollar. — on average you get $1-2 per hour in tips. most other places get up to $10+ in tips. so stop complaining about $0.50 in tips on your $50 family meal.

a dishwasher at a panera.

Mar 30, 2022 6:58 pm EDT
Replying to comment of heiseneko

Wow, you're response says everything. How do you really feel? Find a new job. Don't stick the patrons with automatic gratuity charges when they're ordering something from the counter. Total [censored]. I wasn't even asked , wasn't even an option, just added an extra charge to my bill. That's downright fraudulent. There wasn't anything posted on the menu that an additional fee would automatically added for my order. We're not here to fund your kids college education, we're just trying to make our way in the world as well.

I'm so done with the tip thing for no service. So You, go complain elsewhere.

Sep 24, 2021 7:01 pm EDT

Not going to tip so that Corporate can get bigger bonuses by not paying their employees. Don't be afraid to take a stand. It's nothing against the employee, but is something against corporate greed.

Nov 28, 2021 1:40 pm EST

I agree with you. Panera is the worst. In my area if you order online they charge you more for the food. It's the same food you pick up or eat in their restaurant but it's more online. There is also a transaction fee and they add a 20% you can't remove or change. I ordered 5 items that came to $15.65. When I changed it to delivery my total was $24.08. That was $8.43 higher than the pickup/curbside and the delivery fee was only $1 of that amount. Panera corporate will rip off their customers every chance they get. I cancelled my order and called someone else.

Sep 17, 2021 8:20 am EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I am happily surprised that this stream exists. That tells me I'm not alone. Those tip machines are an insult and in fact diminish my motivation to tip. It is brazen and presumptuous. Others in this stream have made good points. Why should I tip someone to hand me a bagel and a cup for my coffee? Panera appears top have raised their prices about 20% in the past few months. Have the front line workers and rank & file employees benefitted from that increase? I sure hope so. Someone above said "they don't know" whether I leave a tip." Can someone verify that? Another person above said his/her credit card receipt was 20% higher than the purchase and suspects the employee added their own tip. That suggests they can monitor the tip. (I never ask for a receipt. Maybe I should start.) Right wrong or indifferent, I am most often intimidated into leaving a tip. (My problem not the cashiers.) But what that does is (1) I walk in with a chip on my shoulder and look for a fight so I can rationalize not leaving a tip or (2) I have started avoiding Panera and finding my morning coffee elsewhere. Either way -- not good for me or for Panera. Their tip machines are bad for business and foment bad will in customer relations. Wayne Harper // Louisville, KY

Sep 02, 2021 7:50 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Went to Panera today to place a take out order for a sandwich.
The cashier told me the amount and I hit " no tip" and swiped my card.
When the receipt came out she crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. Ok.
Later, when I received an email from my bank regarding my purchases today, I noticed the charge from Panera was more than expected. When I did the math, it was exactly 20% higher than the actual order.
What the hell?
Either "no tip" means we add 20% tip or this employee is scamming customers out of 20% per transaction.
I'd like an answer.

Nov 05, 2021 8:07 am EDT
Replying to comment of lisamb

employees dont have the power to just up the price. the only way to do that is to ring in additional food. and if they did that, you would know, because you would have recieved said food. tips arent added automatically.

Mar 30, 2022 7:00 pm EDT

I went yesterday, to the counter, ordered a tea. Yes, the "gratuity" is automatically added. Not posted. Not provided an option. Someone had to program it in the POS. Don't think it was the girl at the counter.

So tips, are added automatically.

Aug 31, 2021 10:42 pm EDT

As a panera employee I can say that when I work drive thru people ask at least 3 times a shift if we can leave a tip with their card but because we swipe it they can't (it would make it way too easy to steal). They made this a thing because people asked to tip with card. I agree that maybe they should have one functioning tip kiosk separate from where you order for those people who want to tip but plenty of people want to tip but never have cash. I'm not arguing whether you should or shouldn't tip. It's there for people who want it. As a cashier I make it a point to look away when people swipe their cards or put in phone numbers or stuff for privacy reasons. I also hardly notice if people leave tips. I actually notice more when someone tips with cash because the tip jars are closer to my face then the screen is. Anyway just thought I'd provide a different perspective

Aug 31, 2021 10:44 pm EDT

Oh also the tips are split between the employees so you're also tipping the bakers who bake all the bread and the people who make your food.

Jul 31, 2021 4:16 am EDT

I buy Panera's gift certificates for myself and use them constantly, but as soon as the ones I have now are used up...NO MORE PANERA. The cashier stands there and stares at you, waiting for you to complete the tip portion of the check-out. That's just totally unnecessary. I don't normally tip for my carryout. If I've ordered something unusual or made them do some extra work I do, but that's my choice. They can either rethink that tip option or I'm gone.

Dec 24, 2021 4:51 pm EST

just hit no tip. they are waiting for you to complete all transaction parts so that they can print your receipt and send your order to the quote. not waiting for you to tip.

Jul 21, 2021 2:48 pm EDT

I only go to Panera's for takeout a dozen bagels (not sliced or toasted) or a bowl of soup. It is always to go. What am I tipping for? I immensely dislike the option and expectation. Yes. It does take away from the experience... Also, I always provide a minimum of a 20% tip when dining out and am not anti-tipping. I just needed to voice my opinion on this.

Dec 24, 2021 4:53 pm EST

tips are for thanking the people who have to deal with abuse from customers all day.
if you want a cheaper bagel. make it yourself at home.

Mar 22, 2021 7:53 pm EDT

In Maryland, they just added this feature. I said to the cashier, that is great that they have this feature for you now. She replied that she doesn’t receive the tip. Where does this tip go to?

Aug 31, 2021 10:33 pm EDT
Replying to comment of Jan Brant

That's not true. The tip just gets added to her paycheck, but all tips are split evenly (I'm assuming proportional to hours worked) based on the employees.) So like it will be split between servers and bussers( usually just another server when not busy) and dishwashers and food prepares. So most full time employees will make similar tips on the same paycheck and partime will make less depending on the number of hours worked. Sorry if that's confusing

Jan 08, 2020 10:36 pm EST

Today I went to Panera...I forgot they now have a tip option, even on a 2.50 ice tea...the funny ting is the young register girl pointedly stared at me while I signed my cc purchase...bc she did so I widen my eyes and acted surprised that I was being asked to tip for a drink I was gong to go fill myself and put my plastic lid and straw in. Every bit of my body language communicated...your out of your mind for even asking! I hoped this young person learned something tonight maybe at least something to ponder on lately I hope.

Dec 24, 2021 5:09 pm EST

she wasn’t staring at you because of tips. under payed, over worked, long hours, and dealing with [censored]ty customers all day… after a while they just give up forcing their smiles to reach their eyes. besides customers treat cashiers like literal [censored]. ive watched plenty of cashiers (even the most cheerful ones) go to the back area to cry. especially on days where massive catering orders come in at the end of the night when everyone is tired and still has to face 2-4 hours past closing to clean up. closing shift is 4:00pm to 10:00 pm and most closing shifts are luck if they don’t get to clock out before 12am. and the average, unless the manager says go home and leave the rest to opening, is 2am before clocking out. and many people who are closing aren’t closing shift but rather all day shift.
most of my co-workers work 15 hour shifts and still have to stay until after closing. so apologies for them not being able to bend over backwards for people like you who work a 9-5 shift.

Sep 22, 2019 2:01 pm EDT

How can so many people be offended by an option? If you feel so convicted don't tip. The cashier won't know one way or another. The tipping is done primarily by regulars that appreciate the warm greetings, someone walking past the table to check on them and cleaning up their dishes and trash. People who find those extras not worth tipping for most likely don't come in often enough to make a difference anyway. So again, if you are so put off by giving the option to show your appreciation for someone doing a little over than what normal fast food chains do, than don't. But I believe the option is here to stay.

May 06, 2019 5:50 pm EDT

Why am I being asked to tip when I am doing all the work...Getting my food, getting my drink and putting away my food. I was a server for 5 years and made 2.35 an hour, of course you are asked to tip, but I am creating a pleasant experience for my customers and doing all the work. Why is Panera bread not paying their workers accordingly and why am I being shamed into tipping for Panera not doing their job as a corporation. I don't tip by the way, but it strikes a nerve every time I'm asked. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be going here...I don't care how much my kid likes their mac and cheese..

Dec 24, 2021 4:58 pm EST
Replying to comment of jdeann

[censored] you are doing all the work. you are one customer ordering food. the average per hour is 200. and most people get food that takes 5 minutes to prep. you can only see 4 orders on the screen at a time.
if you don’t want to tip. don’t. we aren’t holding a gun to your baby’s head and demanding you pay us $50k. we are giving you the option to pay zero in tips or pay a small amount that if split evenly = only a few pennies per person.

Feb 05, 2019 12:56 pm EST

I find this invasive and unnecessary. As a former waitress i strongly believe in tips.. when they’re earned! Are we going to be expected to tip the cashier at Walmart next? This is rediculous

Dec 16, 2018 6:15 pm EST

The have stolen almost $30 by using that stupid tip feature... they should be sued..

Apr 20, 2018 5:56 pm EDT

If it was a full service sit down restaurant with waitress service such as Denny's, Village Inn or IHOP then I would tip. For a restaurant where you go to the counter to place and pick up your order like Panera, you do not tip and you should not be expected to leave a tip. But I agree, Panera asking you to leave a tip - especially when you are paying by credit or debit card - amounts to a customer being strong armed into leaving a tip. After all, you wouldn't leave a tip at a fast food restaurant like McDonald's or Burger King?

Nov 20, 2017 3:15 pm EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

They are asking their customer to supplement their employees wages so they can pocket more money at the top. Look how much the CEO makes and share holders.

Mar 30, 2022 7:03 pm EDT


Nov 02, 2017 10:55 am EDT

This was so annoying in fact, that while still in Panera, I googled "Panera tips" to see if I was alone. I'm not tipping BEFORE I get a service in an industry (chain deli's that are in denial they're fast-food) that is already overcharging.
Definately did not tip and makes the whole place look a lot less classy.

Nov 01, 2017 8:33 pm EDT

Why is it that tips are requested only when paying with a card and not cash? And why do some locations ask for tips and other don't? And finally, why am I being asked for a tip BEFORE the service has been provided? I felt guilty at first but not now but then received the wrong order. When that was straightened out I got the wrong side. Too much inconsistency!

Sep 18, 2017 8:13 pm EDT

I've been going to Panera for several years and after swiping my payment, was prompted for a tip. Thanks, Panera, for guilting me into a tip prior to receiving any service. After getting under-cooked, still pink chicken on an order previously, I'm done. I will be taking my business elsewhere.

Dec 24, 2021 5:00 pm EST

that pink isn’t undercooked. it’s cooked before it is heated up in the oven. the pink comes from the blood vessels being shredded along side the meat and staying there.

May 31, 2017 7:25 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Sorry, but the new tipping procedure on the checkout screen is not a good idea... To avoid embarrasment i placed a tip reluctantly and do not feel that i will do this again. I do not believe a counter person who takes an order and does not put food on the table or provide service should not be tipped...I may not be back again.


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