- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said a new web3 initiative for rewards is coming.
- The changes will be revealed at Starbucks Investor Day in September.
- Other chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Chipotle have ventured into web3 via the metaverse.
Starbucks is planning some changes to its iconic rewards program, the coffee chain announced in a third-quarter earnings call.
Without revealing too many specifics, interim CEO Howard Schultz said Starbucks will unveil an “exciting new digital initiative” that builds on the chain’s current rewards platform at Starbucks Investor Day on September 13.
The “new Web 3 enabled initiative” will give Starbucks new ways to engage with customers and expand the “digital third place community,” Schultz said. Part of the change will include new rewards that can be redeemed with stars, like “one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else” and “Starbucks-branded digital collectibles.”
Schultz says the new rewards updates will attract new customers and keep current customers coming back.
Starbucks has one of the most successful rewards memberships in the fast food business. The program has 27.4 million members as of the end of the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 13%. Rewards members were responsible for over half of Starbucks’ sales last quarter.
Starbucks Rewards members tend to have strong feelings about the program and any potential changes. When the coffee chain last made major changes to the program in 2019, customers took to social media to express their grievances. At that point, Starbucks changed how many stars were required for some free foods and drinks. The rewards program has gained over 10 million members since then, so even more people could be impacted this time around.
Schultz didn’t offer much information about what upcoming changes will be exactly, but his mention of Web3 gives some indication. Web3 is generally understood to be a more decentralized version of the internet that runs on blockchain technology, using crypto and NFTs to trade pieces of culture.
Other quick-service chains have already ventured into web3: McDonald’s filed trademarks for a virtual restaurant and NFTs, Panera filed a trademark for the “Paneraverse,” including NFTs, and Wendy’s and Chipotle both tested out virtual restaurants in the Metaverse.
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