Foodservice

Circle K Suspends Sip & Save Beverage Subscription Program

Convenience-store retailer will focus on ‘new ways to drive everyday value and build loyalty’
circle k convenience store sip and save beverage program
Sip and Save Logo/Alimentation Couche-Tard

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has suspended its Circle K Sip & Save beverage subscription program, which the Laval, Quebec-based convenience-store retailer launched in May 2021. It will instead focus on providing value through the chain's app and Inner Circle rewards program.

Members, who paid $5.99 per month at the program’s inception, could select any one of Circle K’s beverages—100% sustainably sourced coffee, one of the more than 20 Polar Pop carbonated soft drink flavors and the Froster frozen beverage. With this beverage subscription, customers could get one dispensed beverage a day, every day.

“We really see this an opportunity to drive traffic at a time that people are just starting to come out of the understandable cocoons that they’ve been in for the last 12-plus months,” Kevin Lewis, then chief marketing officer (now chief growth officer) of Couche-Tard, told CNBC at the time of the launch, referring to the pandemic.

“Our Sip & Save and beverage subscription program continues to drive trips, enhanced basket and attract new users while providing great value,” Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard, said in November 2022 on the company’s fiscal second-quarter 2023 earnings call. “With the ongoing inflationary pressures, more than 420,000 subscribers are seeking deals and see the good value offer in Sip and Save. We've also continued to work to improve the online enrollment experience, and we're seeing a larger percentage of our customers automatically renewing and signing up online. Packaged beverage growth was driven by strong dollar and unit growth across immediate consumption, carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks.”

In a new-store announcement in January 2024, Couche-Tard indicated that the membership price had risen to $9.99 a month. And the retailer “gradually” raised the price of membership from $5.99 a month to $10.99 a month, according to a report by 98.1 Minnesota’s New Country in March 2024.

“Sip & Save is no longer accepting new enrollments past March 1, 2024,” the company said on the program’s web page. It did not say whether or for how long the program would continue for existing members. Anecdotal reports by customers on social media indicated that refills were available through the end of March.

“We have made the decision to discontinue Sip & Save as we continue to evolve our hot, cold and frozen beverage offering,” a company spokesperson told CSP. “We will be focusing on new ways to drive everyday value and build loyalty with our customers via our Circle K App, our expanding Inner Circle membership program, now live in 10 of our U.S. business units, and exclusive partnerships and offers to make Circle K ‘America’s Thirst Stop’ this summer.”

Couche-Tard is expanding the Inner Circle loyalty program, Hannasch said during the company’s fiscal third-quarter 2024 earnings call on March 21.

  • Alimentation Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP’s 2023 Top 202 list of convenience-store chains by store count.

Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard operates in 29 countries and territories, with more than 16,700 convenience stores, of which almost 13,100 offer fuel. Its network includes more than 7,100 stores in the United States, primarily under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners, and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac’s and Couche-Tard banners.

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