The cashless revolution is fizzling out, as trendy salad chain Sweetgreen and Amazon backtrack following backlash and regulation

Tender Greens Sweetgreen

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Sweetgreen will once again accept cash.

  • Sweetgreen will once again accept cash, three years after forcing customers to exclusively pay via app or card.
  • The chain's cashless policy "had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash," Sweetgreen said in a blog post on Thursday.
  • Sweetgreen follows in the footsteps of Amazon, which recently announced its cashier-free Amazon Go stores would start accepting cash, following backlash and regulation.

Sweetgreen, a trendy salad chain that helped kick off the cashless revolution, is backtracking.

On Thursday, Sweetgreen announced it plans to accept cash in all locations across the US by the end of 2019.

The change comes three years after Sweetgreen announced it would only accept payment via app or card.

Going cashless "started with an imperative that we've always had at Sweetgreen: How do we simplify things?" Sweetgreen cofounder Jonathan Neman told Business Insider at the time.

Neman said in 2016 that Sweetgreen was going cashless to speed up service, protect against robberies, and promote sustainability.

"Going cashless had these positive results, but it also had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash," Sweetgreen said in a Medium post on Thursday.

Sweetgreen isn't the only company backtracking on its plans to cut cash. Earlier in April, news broke that Amazon is planning to start accepting cash at its cashierless Amazon Go stores.

Read more: Amazon plans to start accepting cash at Amazon Go stores after reported accusations of 'discrimination and elitism' and new laws banning cashless stores

Cashless restaurants and stores have faced backlash for excluding millions of people who do not have a bank account. 8.4 million households, or roughly 6.5% of all households in America, were "unbanked" in 2017, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Cities and states have recently been working to pass regulation to ban cashless companies. Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and New Jersey already require stores to accept cash payment, and New York City and San Francisco are considering similar measures.

Exclusive FREE Report: The 5 Biggest Questions Around Amazon's Grocery Chain by Business Insider Intelligence

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