Sip & Save, which launched in 2021, offered subscribers one free beverage a day for a flat fee per month.

Couche-Tard ends Circle K’s beverage subscription program

Retrieved from Circle K.

Dive Brief:

  • Alimentation Couche-Tard nixed Circle K’s Sip & Save beverage subscription program at the end of last month, according to the convenience retailer’s website and as confirmed by a company spokesperson.
  • According to the web page, the program stopped accepting new enrollments on March 1 and officially ended 30 days later. Couche-Tard’s spokesperson did not clarify why the company has chosen to end the program.
  • This comes three years after Couche-Tard launched Sip & Save, which originally gave subscribers one beverage per day at a Circle K store for $5.99 a month before increasing the cost to $9.99 per month.

Dive Insight:

Couche-Tard debuted Sip & Save as a means to drive more post-pandemic traffic to its c-stores, which were still recovering from the decline they saw from COVID-19 lockdowns the year before, Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Lewis told CNBC at the time. 

By late 2022, the program appeared to be performing well, especially in the U.S., where it reached 24,000 subscribers during the fiscal second quarter. President and CEO Brian Hannasch said at the time that the program was continually driving foodservice trips and enhancing in-store baskets.

At the 2022 NACS Show in Las Vegas, the company appeared to be all-in on the program.

“When times were tough with inflation, we came and provided [consumers] a value program,” David Hall, vice president of foodservice for Couche-Tard, said during a panel at the show. “We’re continuing to leverage, launch and grow this program.”

Early signs of Sip & Save’s potential struggle arose last March, when Hannasch noted that “heavy promotional activity” for that and its coffee program resulted in depressed merchandise and service gross Q3 margins across the company. He did not offer any more details regarding Sip & Save at that time.

About a year later, the program has come to an end. Couche-Tard’s spokesperson said that Circle K will continue to focus on expanding its Inner Circle loyalty program.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard, parent company of Circle K, operates more than 5,700 c-stores in the U.S. It is the second-largest c-store company in North America behind 7-Eleven.

  • Couche-Tard says foodservice promotions hurt Q3 gross profits By Brett Dworski • March 17, 2023

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