> Waitrose ‘Free Hot Drink’ Perk set to Change Next Month - The Food Safety Company Waitrose ‘Free Hot Drink’ Perk set to Change Next Month - The Food Safety Company
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    Thursday, 30 March 2017

    Waitrose ‘Free Hot Drink’ Perk set to Change Next Month


    Loyalty cards are a great marketing strategy for retailers to keep customers coming back. Collecting points and getting exclusive discounts and perks is a great way to keep customers loyal, and many retailers have successful schemes on the go around the country.

    Despite Waitrose’s then-marketing director (now managing director) Mark Price calling loyalty-card schemes ‘intrusive and expensive’ in 1999, myWaitrose was introduced in 2011. Originally an online-exclusive club two years before, the loyalty card scheme is now used in half of the supermarket’s sales – a success story to say the least.

    The perks of the card currently include exclusive discounts at Waitrose’s Cookery Schools and services like dry cleaning, free magazines from the brand and the opportunity to enter competitions. Among the perks is everyone’s favourite: the ‘free tea or coffee’ offer, redeemed with the card whenever you fancy a hot drink, whether passing a store, or shopping.

    However, recent changes to the ‘free hot drink’ perk have occurred, with Waitrose e-mailing their loyal customers an update. While once the perk was offered without any purchase necessary, it’s all changed, with the email reading:

    “Our myWaitrose free tea and coffee offer is one of the ways we thank our customers for shopping with us - and we want all our customers to be able to enjoy a free hot drink when they shop with us in our branches.

    “From 3 April, we'll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout.

    “We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding.”

    Img: Waitrose 
    So, now you have to make a purchase to get that free drink. However, luckily and to the happiness of many myWaitrose cardholders, there is no absurd minimum spend; you could just pick up a chocolate bar for less than a pound and still qualify for your tea or coffee.

    The company did try a similar technique in 2015 in a bid to stop the amount of people ‘abusing’ the perk. Perhaps a subtle way to promote purchasing, Waitrose urged cardholders to buy a ‘treat’ from a selection of options to go with their free hot drink, however this wasn’t too effective, with The Grocer reporting Waitrose were still losing around £150,000 from the ‘abuse’ of the scheme. 

    Despite the new ‘catch’ being a minor one, many aren’t happy about the change. Dubbed ‘#coffeegate’ on social media, customers share their thoughts on how Waitrose have ‘refined’ the perk:


    And others are being pretty clever with the ‘no minimum spend’ condition:


    It seems the offer was too good to last, with one customer saying “Surprised they didn’t do this at the outset.”, as Essex Live reports.

    The changes are valid from April 3rd onwards and despite the change, it’s no doubt customers will continue to be loyal to the brand and retrieve their ‘free’ hot drinks after doing their shopping at Waitrose.


    Laura Sewell


    An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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    Item Reviewed: Waitrose ‘Free Hot Drink’ Perk set to Change Next Month Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Food Safety Co
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