Back in March, we simultaneously spread and scorned the “suspended coffee” meme: a concept originating in the Italian city of Naples where customers can order an extra coffee or food item for a stranger in need that they can request at any time. We dismissed the entire concept as something that a global chain like Starbucks would never implement because it is too complicated to administer and prone to fraud. We were wrong.
Apparently, we underestimated the popularity of the idea… and Starbucks’ need for some good publicity in the United Kingdom after the news broke that the company hasn’t paid corporate income taxes since 2009. As it turns out, Starbucks partnered with a UK charity and has been suspending coffees since late April.
Instead of the suspended coffee scheme as described, where the coffees get served later that day in the very same shop, Starbucks is suspending food and beverages and sending them over to the “hubs” run by Christian charity Oasis. They won’t be serving up nonfat triple macchiatos to the homeless. Starbucks explained on their Facebook page:
When you pay for a suspended coffee we’ll give coffee of that value to our longstanding charity partner, Oasis, who will then distribute it through its community hubs across the UK. We’ll also match the value of each suspended coffee with a cash donation to Oasis which will help provide warmth and comfort to those in need.