Seeking Sweetgreen Salad? Don’t Bother Bringing Cash.

Image courtesy of frankieleon

If you’re looking for a swanky, sustainably-sourced salad for lunch… don’t bother bringing your wallet. Sweetgreen doesn’t want your money, at least not the paper kind; it prefers you pay digitally. Period.

That’s the change coming to the coastal fast-casual lunch chain in early 2017, Business Insider reports. The 60 salad-serving locations will nearly all stop accepting cash payments on Jan. 18.

Instead, customers will be asked to use credit cards or — of course — the store’s own app, which basically everyone seems to be unrolling one of these days.

Sweetgreen — which operates largely in greater Los Angeles, metro DC, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia — says it’s all in the name of simplification. And it’s true: removing cash from the equation does make things easier. It means employees don’t have to count or handle money, customers don’t have to fish around looking for it, and there’s no risk of theft for currency that isn’t there.

But it does create a problem for consumers who still prefer to use paper money — a gamut that runs from higher-income shoppers with privacy concerns, to lower-income, unbanked customers who do not have access to credit services.

Sweetgreen has a pretty explicit social-consciousness perspective, though, so what of the 7% of the U.S. population that’s still completely unbanked? Can they be Sweetgreen customers?

When BI asked, co-founder Jonathan Neman said the company hopes to address the issue through “community outreach,” and also possibly coming up with new store formats that different needs.

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