April 19, 2024

Starbucks is standing firm on its complimentary woof and water conditions.

The coffeehouse said it plans to continue offering pup cups and water free of charge, top executives said during the company’s annual meeting with shareholders (pdf).

Rachel Ruggeri, Starbucks’ executive vice president, said that what makes the coffee retailer different is the experience it can provide customers. Free water and pup cups fall under that domain, she said.

“When you think about that, there are specific offerings like a pup cup for example, that we believe compliment the broader experience that we offer,” Ruggeri, who is also chief financial officer, said in response to the anonymous question.

Pup cups, or what some may call Puppucinos, is just a dollop of whipped cream.

Ruggeri did not clearly state the annual cost associated with the two gratis offerings, but said that it is part of Starbucks’ “broader offering.”

The Dog Club

Baristas at the coffee retailer’s China locations are leading the kennel club charge, according to Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks’ chief executive officer.

Narasimhan said that “the Chinese team has done a wonderful job in several stores across China” in “bringing together communities of pet owners,” and connecting them.

Tapping into a third group of customers, in this case pet owners, could bode well for Starbucks. As it stands, the company’s largest two markets are the U.S. and China.

Narasimhan said Starbucks can serve as “third place” for pet owners to socialize that’s outside of their home and work environments.

But then again, “we’re not just a third place for people,” Narasimhan said. “We also bring together people who are pet owners and their pets because they’re also really family members for our customers. So we are proud of it and we intend to continue doing it.”

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