| US

Circle K to scrap Sip & Save beverage subscription

First launched in May 2021, the now discontinued beverage subscription entitled participating customers to a Circle K coffee, tea, soft beverage or slushy every day for $9.99 a month

Circle K serves more than 120 million cups of coffee annually via its bean-to-cup self-serve coffee machines | Photo credit: Circle K


US convenience store chain Circle K has scrapped its Sip & Save beverage subscription four months after raising the price of the programme. 

The Alimentation Couche-Tard-owned business launched Sip & Save in May 2021 in a bid to drive footfall at US stores following the lifting of pandemic restrictions. The programme offered participating customers one Circle K beverage daily from its coffee, tea or soft beverages for $5.99 a month. 

Circle K increased the price of Sip & Save to $9.99 in January 2024 but notified customers the following month that it would stop accepting new members on 1 March 2024 before axing the programme on 31 March 2024. 

The business has said it will instead focus on app promotions and its Inner Circle rewards programme, which offers discounts on petrol and a range of in-store items. 

Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard operates approximately 7,000 Circle K stores across the US, serving more than 120 million cups of coffee annually via its bean-to-cup self-serve coffee machines. 

While in-store beverage subscriptions can deliver a lucrative and consistent revenue stream for operators, execution can prove complex, costly and difficult for staff to manage.  

In the US, JAB Holding-backed Panera Bread has run its Unlimited Sip Club subscription since March 2020. Initially priced at $8.99-a-month for ‘unlimited’ hot coffee, iced coffee or hot tea, Unlimited Sip Club was expanded in April 2022 to include Panera’s full range of 26 coffee, tea and soft beverages, at an increased price of $10.99 per month.  

The cost of the monthly subscription has risen further twice in the last 18 months, to $11.99 in February 2023 and to $14.99 in March 2024 – a 67% increase on 2020 prices. The subscription, which is only available to MyPanera loyalty programme members, also has an annual payment model which Panera Bread says offers ‘disruptive value’ at $199 plus tax.  

Fellow JAB Holding-backed business Pret A Manger has also raised the price of its beverage subscription amid reports that the programme has been more costly for the business than originally envisioned.   

First launched in September 2020 to counter Covid-19 disruption to its office worker customer base, Pret Coffee entitled subscribers to five hot and cold beverages per day for £25 ($31). In April 2023, Pret A Manger announced a significant revamp of its subscription programme to include a 10% discount on the chain’s full range of food and snack items in addition to five barista prepared beverages per day.

Now named Club Pret, the programme costs £30 ($37.40) a-month. If fully utilised, customers can purchase more than £400 ($498) worth of coffee every month for £30 ($37.40). 

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