Free coffee offered by premium retailer Waitrose to its loyalty card holders is rumoured to be grinding to a halt.
Waitrose is feeling the squeeze and as a result the days of grabbing a free coffee while topping the basket up with rosemary and sea-salt focaccia are coming to an end.
Mark Price, Waitrose’s managing director, warns of “a more turbulent time for food retailing than any of us can remember” and that the myWaitrose loyalty card programme had received “substantial investment”.
The loyalty scheme launched in 2011 has received criticism for taking business away from local independent cafe’s. Further criticism about the scheme has also come from Waitrose customers who feel the free coffee is attracting the wrong kind of customer.
“Waitrose just opened in West Hampstead and I got a free cappuccino on my way to work! #happydays #waitrose #westhampstead #coffeeonthehouse”
The ‘coffee on the house’ incentive is a huge draw to customers, so if Lidl or Aldi decide to offer something similar, we could see Waitrose lose more ground to the discounters.