Waitrose is to curb its popular free tea and coffee scheme, in a move which has caused upset among customers.
After a trial in eight of its stores, all in the South East, the supermarket is implementing the change across all shops.
From April 3, Waitrose customers throughout the country will have to make a purchase before collecting their coffee cup at the check-out.
This will be a big story in my local @waitrose: the chain has ended free coffee for customers who don't buy spend any money— Richard Eden (@richardaeden) March 21, 2017
In an email sent to customers, the supermarket wrote: "Our myWaitrose free tea and coffee offer is one of the ways we thank our customers for shopping with us - and we want all our customers to be able to enjoy a free hot drink when they shop with us in our branches.
Finally! Waitrose removes the coffee freeloaders clogging up stores... pic.twitter.com/Vw1po6rVM2— James Murphy (@jwmurphy) March 21, 2017
"From 3 April, we'll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout.
"We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding. If you have any questions about this, please either speak with a Partner in your local branch, or alternatively full FAQs can be found through the 'contact us' link below."
Customers have been unhappy about the change.
One Twitter user wrote: "How can I enjoy a free tea or coffee while I shop at Waitrose if I have to buy something first? Not happy with this change at all."
Another said: "No more "free" coffee at Waitrose. You have to buy something first. I blame Brexit."
This comes after Waitrose cracked down on free coffee in January 2015, telling customers they had to buy something such as a pastry if they wanted to enjoy a free beverage in their sit-down cafes.
Martin Lane, managing editor of finance website Money.co.uk said:
“I’m sure this will have many loyal Waitrose customers up in arms as the famous freebie has become a firm favourite with shoppers. Paying customers can still get free tea and coffee so long as they buy something.
This could be a good thing for genuine punters doing their weekly food shop and might stop some people who cheekily nip in for a regular freebie without buying anything.
“For genuine customers, nothing really changes - it’s only the freeloaders who will suffer so it’s win win for the Waitrose tribe.”