NEW YORK CITY – If you stop in at the Tender Greens salad chain for a Serrano Grilled Shrimp Bowl, leave your cash at home. The 28-unit chain is one of a number of restaurants that are kicking cash to the curb like yesterday’s leftovers, USA Today reports.
While no hard numbers exist, anecdotal evidence supports the fact that more restaurants are becoming cashless. A Federal Reserve survey from 2016 discovered that noncash payments jumped 5.3% between 2012 and 2015.
Currently, salad chain Sweetgreen and some independent restaurants have embraced cash-free policies, and two national chains have been looking into not accepting cash. Earlier this year, Starbucks converted one of its Seattle stores into a cashless one. Other fast-food chains are dabbling into cashless kiosks too.
Convenience and speed are fueling the burgeoning trend at restaurants, as owners say paying with plastic moves things along quicker. But this might be a risky move, considering that millennials often prefer cash and more than a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 27 don’t have credit cards.
Miah Daughtery campaigned on social media against the policy at the Washington, D.C., location of Sweetgreen. “There’s an assumption that people have a credit or debit card on them. If I didn’t, does that mean I wouldn’t be able to get lunch?” she asked.
Chicago is looking into whether merchants should have to accept cash, while in Massachusetts, the 1978 Discrimination Against Cash Buyers rule has meant cash payments must be accepted.