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Coffee Subscription Service Fights Starbucks By Accepting Their Gift Cards

Screengrab: Tonx
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Here's one way to get good coffee with a Starbucks gift card: Tonx — an LA-based coffee company that roasts and delivers coffee to subscribers in the US and Canada — announced yesterday that they are now accepting Starbucks gift cards as payment for subscriptions. It's a pretty sophisticated system: Subscribers put their Starbucks card details into Tonx's website and the company will credit the amount on the card towards the subscriber's account. By their math, a card with a $38 balance could get someone 8 Frappucinos or 40 cups of Tonx coffee. (Just imagine how many Tonx cups a $450 metal Starbucks card would be worth.) Their website makes it clear that Starbucks is in no way affiliated with the deal, so presumably in the short term Tonx will lose money on the trade.

Tonx isn't the first coffee company to fight Starbucks by accepting their gift cards. In December, Dallas coffee shop Stupid Good Coffee announced their plan to accept Starbucks cards as payment in their shop. The owner explained that his decision may "not really [be] advantageous" financially, but for now he's trying to keep regular customers from straying whenever they happen to be gifted Starbucks cards. It remains to be seen if and how Starbucks HQ will come down on this practice, so get it while you can.

· Spend Your Starbucks at Tonx [Tonx via LAT]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]