New Bill in NYC Proposed to Ban Cashless Restaurants [Grub Street]

Oh yeah

And in related news… Cashless stores have just been banned in NJ.

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Already banned in philly


I assume you support these bans.

I think that’s ridiculous. If taking cash costs a business more than the profits from cash customers, they should be free to refuse it.

Cash is legal tender for all debts. There are people in our society who are in situations where they cannot access financial card services.


Antecedent debts. Not relevant. Hence the push for state laws.

People who can pay only in cash generally don’t need what cashless restaurants are selling. Going cashless is cost-effective only for places with a relatively narrow clientele.

Tacos Tu Madre is cashless. It’s an effing taco window! When did tacos become the new caviar?


When they started filling them with duck confit, uni, and foie gras.

True, but fewer and fewer people need them. Most formerly “unbanked” consumers now all have phones that can be charged with money at Walmart or somewhere. So when they get to the taco window alls they got to do is point their phone at the terminal and bada boom cashless transaction. The cashless model is much more viable now than it was 5 years ago.

There is also a case to be made for the sheer privacy afforded by cash transactions. Nobody needs to know who spent $10.82 at Tacos Tu Madre on a given night.


Who gives a rat’s ass tho. Who’s secretly at a taco truck?

People who are that concerned with privacy can go somewhere else.

Going cashless prevents robberies and theft, eliminates the expense of cash drawers and a safe, makes it unnecessary to spend time counting cash and going to the bank (or to pay employees to do it), and lowers insurance costs.


@robert, we don’t always agree, but I do agree with you here on this point. While a business accepting cashless payments exclusively may alienate some would-be customers, I don’t think that such a move is necessarily either racist or classist (as the Grubstreet article portrays it), at least not in intent or on its face. Or at the very least, such a business decision is not necessarily underlied by “insidious racism.” Rather, plausible and legitimate business interests exist such that a business can favor a cashless system without any regard to who specifically can or cannot paritcipate. While I don’t like Tock, I understand why businesses would want to use it for reservations, for economic reasons that strongly favor the restaurant. If I don’t like Tock, I simply don’t have to eat at a Tock restaurant, but I would not be comfortable with the government fining them or worse yet there be some imputation of gross motives that the GrubStreet article suggests.

When one rents a car or reserves a room at a lodging, isn’t a credit card required? Sure it could be for incidentals, but the effect is the same - no card, no rental, unfortunately. Don’t rental cars businesses or establishments providing short-term paid lodging have a similar so-called discriminatory effect then? Should the government fine them too, or mandate that they also take cash up front in lieu of card for incidentals?

I do like the anonymity of cash, and I prefer using it at some businesses (especially when I’m traveling). But I think that a customer’s preference for the anonymity of cash has zero impact on whether the government should be able to fine businesses that don’t accept cash.


Biggest reason for a restaurant to go cashless is to prevent employee theft.

From a restaurant perspective I’m willing to bet that the cashless squarebox payment system pressure customers to tip the employees. Especially as the service worker is staring at you as you type in the 10% 20% 25% or None option. They eventually turn the squarebox around.

Yeah, that’s what I meant by theft. As opposed to robbery.

I missed the Grubstreet link.

That politician has it backwards. If poor people are disadvantaged by not having cards and phones, the solution is to get them cards and phones, not to enact laws requiring businesses to take a second-class form of payment.

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Realistically, how does one do that? (No snark intended.)

There’s already a debit card program for Social Security and other federal benefits:

There’s nothing very complicated about subsidizing phones for poor people.

You bring up two, intertwined points that I found interesting.
First, you mention that the move to a cashless system is neither racist or classist in its intent. While I think that is mostly true, it’s neither here nor there. The issue, as always, is impact.
That is then connected to your next sentence, in which you state that these are business decisions that aren’t underlied by insidious racism. But, in fact, that is exactly what insidious racism is. It’s not overt racism or classism because intent seems largely absent (we think, though we don’t know). It’s precisely because this shift to cashless business has an unintended differential impact upon people based on SE status that the classism or racism is insidious.