Starbucks has become the first UK chain to sign up to a goodwill initiative allowing customers to buy a beverage and reserve one for the homeless.
The US-based multinational, which has recently faced a storm of public and political criticism over its British corporation-tax payments, said it was “embracing the spirit” of the Suspended Coffee Campaign.
The movement was pioneered in Naples and subsequently spread to Bulgaria, where 150 cafés have established the idea that allows customers to reserve a beverage for others unable to afford them and be rewarded with the “warm feeling” of a charitable donation.
“Coming soon, when a customer buys a suspended coffee we will provide coffee to that value to our long-standing community-charity partner Oasis, which will distribute it through community hubs across the UK,” said Ian Cranna, the vice-president of marketing at Starbucks UK.
He added that Starbucks would match the value of each suspended coffee bought in a cash donation to Oasis – a charity operating in more than 35 communities worldwide.
He said the company wanted to play its part in contributing to a “structured and long-term” initiative that gets “help straight to those who want and need it the most”.
The Starbucks decision to adopt the scheme could now see it followed by chains such as Pret A Manger and Costa Coffee, which have praised the idea online.