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Starbucks Taps Additional Rewards Partnerships to Widen Loyalty Audience


Starbucks is adding two new rewards partners to grow loyalty engagement and reach new customers.

The world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue shared in its 2023 Reinvention Update and Holiday Launch presentation Thursday (Nov. 2) how, following its loyalty partnership with Delta, the company is teaming up with additional companies on such cross-brand rewards deals.

“Building on the success with Delta, we’re sharing today that we will introduce two new reward together partnerships in the next six months, including a leading financial institution and a world-class hospitality company,” Starbucks Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer said. “With these new partnerships that we’re announcing, we’ll extend the benefits that Starbucks reward customers always love and will bring that to new customers to bring them into the program.

Already, the company is seeing growth with the program. The chain shared in its fourth-quarter fiscal 2023 earnings call Thursday that, in the quarter, the restaurant reached 75 million 90-day active digital customers worldwide, and in the U.S., it saw its highest-yet loyalty engagement, with Starbucks Rewards’ 90-day active member count reaching 33 million in the country, with record per-member spending.

The company shared in a press release accompanying its Reinvention Update that it plans to double its global Starbucks Rewards members within five years, adding another 75 million and leveraging this extensive base to drive spending and frequency.

“Starbucks has direct, digital relationships with hundreds of millions of customers,” Brewer said. “Our ambition is to know every customer, personalize their experience and make Starbucks effortless.”

Most consumers are now familiar with restaurant rewards programs. PYMNTS Intelligence’s March study, “Connected Dining: Consumers Like the Taste of Discount Meals, found that 51% of consumers reported using a restaurant loyalty program and that adoption of QSR programs had grown 15% year over year.

Additionally, the restaurant chain is turning to a ghost kitchen model to meet delivery demand more efficiently.

“Today, less than 4% of sales are delivery, and less than 1% of our portfolio is delivery-only stores, and yet this business is growing rapidly and expected very soon to be well over a billion in sales,” Starbucks Executive Vice President and Chief Partner Officer Sara Kelly said on the call. “By 2025, we expect to serve nearly 40% of our delivery orders to our delivery-only stores, … alleviating pressure in our most capacity-constrained stores.”

Slightly less than half of all consumers are interested in ghost kitchens, according to PYMNTS’ exclusive study “Connected Dining: The Robot Will Take Your Order Now.” Additionally, the study found that the top reason this 48% of consumers are interested in the model is because of the speed, ease and convenience it offers.

Plus, PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “Connected Dining: Rising Costs Push Consumers Toward Pickup” found that about 1 in 10 restaurant orders is placed for delivery.