Why Burger King’s Coffee Subscription Isn’t Just About the Joe

The bad boys and girls of the burger world.

Burger King’s edgy marketing has earned them that brand over the years.

Recent stunts like one cent Whoppers (only when ordered via its mobile app while at McDonald’s) and one dollar 10-piece nugget deal have been strategic in getting more customers in the door.

But with visitors to quick-service restaurants on the decline, The King is pulling out all the stops and launching a subscription program. That’s very unusual in the QSR industry.

Coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts offer rewards programs that involve points, but the BK Café program is completely different.

For $5 per month, members are entitled to one free small coffee per day.

The only condition is that they have to signup and pay through the BK mobile app.

It’s a risky move because this low-margin program could generate little revenue (or even a loss), but BK is betting that that the program will draw in members more regularly.

Just like 10 chicken nuggets for a dollar seems crazy, it’s a clever idea. BK knows that these super-cheap items lead customers in, and they ultimately end up buying more. After all, who could get nuggets without fries, a soft drink, and perhaps a side-burger?

Sure, some customers may come in just for the coffee, but Burger King is probably betting that many customers will also end up purchasing a breakfast sandwich or more with that coffee.

The more excitement BK can build around the program, the more they can get people in the door.

That ultimately means more engagement. And doesn’t increased engagement equal more opportunity to turn casual customers into loyal ones?

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