The US burger chain Shake Shack, backtracked on its cashless experiment. Indeed, after opening its first manless and cashless shop in October 2017, it has now announced that no cash is a no go.
The Motley Fool reports that customer feedback is one of the major reasons for this decision. In fact, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti stated: “[One] of the things we’ve clearly seen is that our guests do often want to pay with cash,” he said. “In the first rollout at Astor Place, we did not accept cash at all. And there are people who have told us very clearly, ‘We want to pay with cash.” Numerous customers lashed out their discontent online arguing that the burger joint’s fully cashless policy was discriminating and impractical. Even Melissa McCart, a contributor to Eater, wrote “Going cashless […] boxes people out and reinforces the stratification of society, between the young and old, rich and poor, and the legal and undocumented customers in all the diverse corners of the United States.”
In the land of the free where 9.6 million households are unbanked, imposing one payment method or another is simply counterproductive, if not plain discriminatory. Numerous studies point to the fact that consumers like to select their payment method according to perceived convenience or security, data that is particularly evident in the Cardtronics Health of Cash Study. Even in Sweden, where non cash payments have far outrun cash ones, 31% of the population admits not feeling comfortable with the current decline in cash acceptance and availability, according a 2016 Riksbank study.
The bottom line is that freedom of choice has won yet another battle which will hopefully influence other retailers and merchants that are all too eager shut the till down.