The end of the free coffee from Waitrose!
Remember when all those middle class ponces were frightened of being besieged by riff raff when Waitrose started offering free coffee?
Well, the supermarket has decided that this coffee business needs sorting out and have tightened up the promotion, saying that if you want a free brew option with your myWaitrose loyalty card, you're going to have to buy some food at the same time.
Waitrose have been trialling this new promo at a number of stores, which isn't surprising if you believe the figures of one retail expert who reckons it is costing the company as much as £150,000 a week to provide the free drink.
From February 9th, you'll need to buy a butty or a cake to claim your free coffee across all the Waitrose shops. You'll have to show a receipt if you want in.
Phil Dorrell, director of the retail consultancy Retail Remedy, said: "It was a very good commercial marketing ploy that has over the last few years become a little bit abused. It costs them money to do it and they've got to ask themselves is it worth it? Booths do exactly the same thing. Does it really benefit the actual Waitrose customer?"
"The execution of it at store level has been a little poor and allowed people to come in, get a free coffee and then not really shop - and a lot of these people would tend to do that on a frequent basis. That was not the intent of the card. The intent was a thank you from Waitrose. I think Waitrose when they did it were under pressure from all the other supermarkets doing a price war."
"They wanted to make a statement to their customers saying “we’re different too”. It’s just a sort of expression of the fact that they were different."
Dorrell reckons that the ingredients of the tea or coffee available at Waitrose is around 12p and 15p. According to his calculations, that's around £150,000 a week going down the pan for the supermarket.
A Waitrose spokesman said: "Most people who have their myWaitrose free drink in the café understand that they should buy something from the café to have with their tea or coffee, and so we are simply confirming that. MyWaitrose members who would like to drink their free tea or coffee in the café will also need to buy something, in the café such as a sandwich, cake or piece of fruit to go with their drink. Customers can still buy a drink in the café too."
"Of course myWaitrose customers can still get their free hot drink from the self-serve machines whilst they are shopping with us."