Starbucks starts discounting items before closing time in Japan

Starbucks starts discounting items before closing time in Japan

Starbucks branches in Japan see most of their customers in the late afternoon/early evening time blocks. After lunch but before dinner just makes sense as the best time to sip a Jimoto Frappuccino, nibble on a pastry, or otherwise tickle your taste buds as you enjoy a peaceful pause in your schedule for the day.

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Starting this week, though, there’s an extra incentive for Starbucks fans in Japan to put their visit off until later in the day, as the chain will start offering discounts on food items before closing.

The practice of knocking down the price on unsold items as closing time approaches is already common in Japanese supermarkets, and some convenience stores do the same thing. The idea is that the item will no longer be fresh enough to sell when the store opens again the next day, so rather than end up with unsold inventory that has to be tossed out in the morning, it’s better to lower the price and entice someone to buy it while it’s still good to eat.

Starbucks’ version of the system will be to reduce prices by 20 percent for baked goods, sandwiches, and desserts in its register-adjacent food cases starting three hours before closing time on days when they have an abundance of leftovers. The practice will go into effect at all of Starbucks’ roughly 1,600 Japanese locations starting on Monday.

Starbucks says it’s implementing the system as part of its efforts to reduce the chain’s amount of food waste, 15 percent of which is currently accounted for by expired food (the bulk of the chain’s food waste comes from coffee beans left over after brewing, a portion of which are recycled into fertilizer and animal feed). The ostensible increased sales from the discounts should also help its bottom line, and if it saves customers some cash the next time they’re craving a sakura donut or matcha scone, it sounds like a win-win-win for Starbucks, its fans, and the planet they share.

Source: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Otakomu, Sponichi Annex

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