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.