Starbucks Is Mixing Up Its Ice

The QSR is switching to chewier nugget ice that tested positively.

May 23, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Starbucks is changing its ice cubes to “nugget ice”—smaller than the ice currently used by the beverage chain, reports CNN. Iced beverages account for 75% of Starbucks’ sales.

Reddit users are mixed on the change but passionate. Some say the ice is chewier and flakier. Others are worried that the new ice may water down their iced beverages.

However, Starbucks assured customers that it won’t melt faster, and they won’t receive less ice since baristas are using the same ice scoop. The company also said the nugget ice had a “resoundingly positive response” in its tests.

Many convenience stores are known for offering nugget, or “chewy” ice. In fact there is a app that allows consumers to find the nearest location offering “chewy” ice. Parker’s recently launched a new subscription-based program called “Chewy’s Drink Club” that celebrates its use of chewy ice.

Last week, Starbucks announced a change to its Refreshers drink—if customers order one without water, the QSR will charge $1 because it requires more ingredients to be added. Many Starbucks customers took to social media, calling the coffee chain “greedy” and “stingy,” but others applauded the company on the move, as the recent trend toward TikTok menu hacks hold up the line.

These are some of the first changes under new CEO Laxman Narasimhan, who is leading Starbucks with a focus on efficiency and optimization.

“As a leadership team, we fully acknowledge a need to evolve and modernize our brand, our business, our capabilities and our culture to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. We are therefore re-founding the company and as part of that we are getting back to its basics,” he recently told investors.

CNBC recently reported that Narasimhan plans to work a shift at one of the company’s stores at least once a month.

Starbucks updated its rewards program earlier this year, making it harder for members to earn free menu items. Customers will need to earn an additional 50 to 100 points (or stars) to receive bonus food and beverages, with free items ranging from free hot coffee to a bag of coffee beans. In the three months ended October 2, 2022, the number of active Starbucks rewards members jumped to 28.7 million, up 16% year over year.

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