Sweetgreen Reverses Cashless Approach

Sweetgreen Reverses Cashless Payments Approach

Amid the backlash to cashless stores around the country, Sweetgreen plans to start taking legal tender. Critics contend that cashless stores impact those that don’t have credit cards, bank accounts or like to pay via cash, The New York Times reported.

Sweetgreen wrote in a Medium post, “Ultimately, we have realized that while being cashless has advantages, today it is not the right solution to fulfill our mission. To accomplish our mission, everyone in the community needs to have access to real food.” The company plans to accept cash in all restaurants in the country by the end of the year.

The company said its decision to go cashless “was based on our core value of win-win-win ” for the community, the company and the customer. In the Medium post, Sweetgreen pointed out that it thought the decision would help decrease robbery incidents, improve sustainability with less paper and armored cards, and boost efficiency by making service faster in its locations.

In other cashless payment news, Philadelphia recently passed a ban on cashless stores – the first big U.S. city to do so, per reports. With the new law, most retail outlets would have to accept physical currency. New Jersey recently passed similar legislation, and New York City is on the same path as well. These moves could impact innovation for firms such as Amazon and its Go stores, which link to an Amazon account via mobile and make charges for purchases.

The Philadelphia measure does have some exceptions. The law doesn’t apply to garages or lots, hotels or rental cars. The law also reportedly exempts “transactions at retail stores selling consumer goods exclusively through a membership model that requires payment by means of an affiliated mobile device application.”

The measure’s proponents say this is the right move for people who don’t have credit or debit cards, and for those who prefer to pay with currency for privacy reasons. Businesses, however, say going cashless improves safety and efficiency and removes the need to carry big envelopes of money to the bank at night or to count large amounts of cash.