WASHINGTON — Grabbing a quick bite to eat at Sweetgreen? Leave your cash, but bring your credit card.
The D.C. fast food chain is going cashless in 2017 in all 64 of its stores, Fast Company reports. The company has been testing the concept for about a year.
Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, who founded the restaurant in 2007 after graduating from Georgetown University, told Fast Company that safety, hygiene and time were some of the reasons for the shift to the cashless system.
By not having cash in the storefront, they said the likelihood of robberies will be reduced, in addition to eliminating the need for an armored truck to transport cash. Without cash, employees will reduce the chance of contaminating the food. Lastly, managers will spend less time counting transactions and more time training and mentoring staff.
Neman and Jammet hope to rely on more technology around preordering and its app, to decrease the time customers have to wait in line at the popular eatery. The company plans to launch a revamped app in 2017, which will introduce group ordering, notification alerts and a way to make the experience more personalized.
“We’re starting to already test things,” Jammet told Fast Company. “Like if we know you don’t eat chicken but you open your app and half of our salads have chicken, why should you see six salads with chicken on them?”
Critics of a cashless system point out that it excludes customers who do not have credit or debit cards, who are often poor or have no credit. Neman told The New York Times in July that the company is looking at solutions to accommodate those without cards, such as installing gift card machines where customers could pay cash.
But Jammet told Fast company that cash was not relevant to the restaurant’s core demographic.
Critics have also pointed out that electronic transactions are susceptible to tracking and monitoring, a cause for concern when it comes to privacy.