KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Freestyle Poke has been a cashless business since they opened their doors back in June of 2018.
But now, people are saying they are offended and upset that this restaurant won’t take their cash.
KCTV5 spoke with people as they waited in line for colorful food on Monday. Those customers said they don’t mind the no cash rule.
“I don’t see it as a problem, I really only carry my debit card, I don’t carry cash with me,” said Megan Conner.
Founder of Freestyle Poke, Jeremiah Dupin, said there are a few reasons why they chose to be cashless, and none of them have to do with making it difficult for people to dine there.
“It had nothing to do about being discriminatory,” said Dupin. “We were clear on our intention and we’ve stuck with that since day one.”
There is a list of reasons behind their decision to go cashless on their website and social media. They said it’s more sustainable and eliminating cash is more green. They also said they can serve more guests in less time, it’s safer for everyone as their less of a target for theft and they can spend more time investing in their team and communities instead of counting cash.
The restaurant has been cashless since they opened last year.
But it was a social media post that just recently created noise on Facebook.
In that post, Dupin told a customer that, “Every single person that claimed they were unbanked, in my experience, claimed that they didn’t have a bank account because they didn’t want to pay taxes or report their income.”
He then went on to say, “We are inclusive of all because anyone can go get a prepaid card and load cash on it.”
Chico Sierra, a Kansas City resident, shared the post on social media.
“When I found out that they didn’t accept cash through the post, I thought it was disingenuous to serve food from marginalized people and then to exclude marginalized people in the neighborhood that they are servicing. I thought it was hypocritical,” said Sierra.
Sierra took issue with these comments. He told KCTV5 that this is excluding people, and he doesn’t think it’s right.
He said, “It’s ridiculous not to, we haven’t reached the point where people have access to bank accounts and that’s a sad thing, it’s just class.”
Dupin told KCTV5, “I would ask him, does he use Amazon, does he fly on an airline? Do they use cash? Are they targeting poor people?”
He said he doesn’t know why this is becoming an issue almost a year after they opened. He said the decision to be cashless was never to exclude people from eating at his restaurant and he hopes people will see that.
“I think we can draw the conclusion here that that’s not what I meant nor was that the founding intention of our cashless position,” said Dupin.
There is no federal statue mandating a private business or person to accept currency as payment for goods. So, businesses are free to have their own policies.
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