Happy hour now includes iced tea and espresso, and, hopefully, smaller crowds.

Elisabeth Sherman
March 27, 2018

Back in 2010, Starbucks launched what would turn out to be a wildly popular in-store event: Frappuccino happy hour, when the whipped drinks would go on sale in the afternoon. Cue the long lines and beleaguered baristas who were so busy during those supposedly happy hours that the company considered ending the program altogether. Eight years later, Starbucks is revamping the program to include other drinks in addition to the frappuccino, and, presumably, to reduce crowds Starbucks’ happy hour will now be by invitation only.

The first happy hour event will take place on Thursday, March 29, when all espresso drinks will be 50 percent off from 3 p.m. to close. In order to get an invite, you need to sign up for the Starbucks mobile app. Moving to an invite-only format for the happy hour may also incentivize more people to use mobile ordering, either through the app or the Starbucks Rewards program, which in turn, could reduce lines in stores, especially during the morning rush.

Earlier this week, Starbucks extended mobile ordering to all users of its app, giving more people the opportunity to skip the line at the register and grab their drink straight from the bar—which in theory should cut down on the time you spend waiting on your morning coffee. Mobile ordering was previously only open to Starbucks Rewards members.

If you’ve been invited to take part in the happy hour deals, you’ll either be notified by email or by the app, but Starbucks isn’t telling how many invites per happy hour it will be sending out.

The program is being extended throughout the entire summer, so once you sign up for the mobile app (or if you already have it) keep an eye out for a notification from Starbucks about when the happy hour is taking place—if you’ve been invited of course.