Starbucks is giving away Peppermint Mocha air fresheners in a drive-thru-only deal, as the coffee giant goes all in on drive-thrus

  • Starbucks is giving away free Peppermint Mocha air fresheners exclusively to drive-thru customers. 
  • Baristas are handing out the free air fresheners starting on Thursday, December 10. 
  • The surprise deal comes after Starbucks heavily hyped its drive-thru business at its investor day on Wednesday. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Starbucks is giving away free air fresheners in a surprise deal just for drive-thru customers. 

On Thursday, December 10, Starbucks baristas will begin surprising drive-thru customers who order a holiday drink with an air freshener inspired by the chain's Peppermint Mocha. 

According to Starbucks, the air freshener will be available as supplies last — and only at stores with a drive-thru. Air fresheners will come with a QR code to a custom Starbucks holiday playlist.

Read more: The pandemic is permanently changing fast food as Wendy's, Burger King, and Chipotle double down on high-tech drive-thrus

"This holiday season, many customers are ordering and enjoying their holiday favorites in the drive-thru and we wanted to create a moment of merry just for them, inspired by the scents and sounds of the season at Starbucks," Starbucks said in a statement to Business Insider. 

The free air freshener deal caught some Starbucks customers' attention on social media earlier this week. "They smell so f—ing good," one person said in a TikTok video.

Free air fresheners @ Starbucks rn e👀 ##starbucks ##EasyDIY

#greenscreen Starbucks always hooking it up!!!

Starbucks is making major investments in its drive-thru business

The surprise deal comes a day after Starbucks highlighted its plans to invest even more in its drive-thru business at its investor day on Wednesday. 

Starbucks said it plans to reach roughly 55,000 locations around the world by 2030, opening 22,000 new stores. Executives said that drive-thru stores will make up roughly 40% of its US locations over the next three years, with 80% of new stores featuring a drive-thru. 

Analysts celebrated the news, noting that drive-thru stores are more profitable than the average locations without them.

"The drive-thru model is already one of the most productive units in the company's range of options," Stifel analyst Chris O'Cull wrote in a note on Thursday.

O'Cull continued that Starbucks' plans to add new drive-thru initiatives — such as double drive-thru lanes, updated equipment, and revamped preparation processes — will make Starbucks' drive-thrus even fast. That would cut down on customers who drive away after seeing a long drive-thru line at Starbucks' stores. 

Drive-thru sales have been crucial at Starbucks and other chains during the pandemic. Burger King, Chipotle, and Wendy's are among the chains to announce major investments in their drive-thru business in recent months, as companies add more lanes and install new technology. 

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