Coffee chain’s etiquette discount may prove tall order for Israelis

Price cut for customers who say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.


Israelis love a good bargain, but one café’s special offer may turn out to be unattainable for a large majority.

Baristas at the coffee shop chain Café Café have been instructed to give customers a discount on their drinks – but only if they say the magic words.

A takeaway cup of coffee now costs NIS 6 instead of NIS 8 – if you remember to say “please” and “thank-you”. That may be a tall order for a nation that prides itself on its directness.

Besides being a simple marketing tool for the brand, the initiative has been backed by the Pnima movement, which bills itself an apolitical social movement aimed at fostering solidarity.

The discount is in full force at all but one of the chain’s 157 branches – Ben Gurion International Airport.

The company’s CEO, Noam Zimerman, told Globes the initiative was intended to “encourage more respectful conversation in Israel society”.

Owner Ronen Nimni admitted that the aim was also to boost sales of takeaway coffee. He told Haaretz: “A cup of coffee costs us 3 to 3.50 shekels, so if we sell it at 6 shekels and sell a lot, we are still earning 80 per cent to 100 per cent on the product without having to provide service or a place [to sit].”

If successful, the deal could be extended to sales of takeaway food too, according to Mr Nimni.

However, cynical competitors are unlikely to follow suit. An unnamed executive at a rival firm told Haaretz: “It’s a public relations move and nothing more,” he said.

“As I see it, there is no reason to provide a reward for the required use of words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’.”

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