Starbucks Enters The Value Meal Trend With $5 And $6 Pairing Menus

Budget-savvy Starbucks customers have something to look forward to starting on June 11, 2024, according to a press release shared with Tasting Corner. The coffee chain will be introducing a new Pairings Menu, which amounts to a type of value meal where customers can pair their morning pick-me-up with a small bite to eat. There are two options available. The $5 option lets you choose any tall coffee or tea (iced or hot), which comes with a Butter Croissant on the side. 

If you need something a little more filling than a croissant, the $6 option offers the same drink selections but pairs it with any savory breakfast sandwich. Starbucks offers several to choose from, including the Sausage, Cheddar, and Egg Sandwich and the Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Egg White Sandwich. Most people don't go to Starbucks for the food — except as an add-on for their drink — and the new Pairings Menu suggests that the company is aware of that fact. 

Even though Starbucks isn't normally considered fast food, it's interesting to note that this is coming at the same time that Burger King is bringing back its $5 meal deal and McDonald's seems close to releasing its own $5 value meal option. Whether Starbucks is intentionally trying to compete with these fast food chains isn't entirely clear, but it's hard not to notice the similarities.

Companies are looking for ways to help customers save money

The value meals at other fast food restaurants offer substantially more food, so customers looking specifically for a meal may not be swayed to switch over. But Starbucks customers who have pulled back on their coffee budget may be more inclined to return if they feel the new Pairings Menu is offering a good enough deal. Whoever the target market is, the ultimate goal of Starbucks' new menu is undoubtedly to drum up more business.

Inflation has hit food chains hard. Between 2019 and 2023, fast food prices rose an astonishing 29%, and consumers have responded by foregoing the luxury altogether. The value meal trend is a marketing tactic to bring these people back. It has us wondering what's happening on the backend, since the price increases have been blamed on the rising cost of food, transportation, and labor – none of which have seen a noticeable decline in recent months. It's possible that the companies are operating at a loss on these items hoping that the renewed customer base buys other menu items as well. 

If they're offering value meals and still making a profit, the rationale for raising prices in the first place does come into question. It doesn't help that they've been reporting record profits. But that's as deep into the weeds as we need to go. It's only speculation, in any case. The important part is that Starbucks is finding ways to help its customers save money while still indulging in their morning coffee.