Starbucks wants liberals and conservatives to talk to each other, not just yell across the aisle-- and they’re encouraging that discourse by offering a complimentary cup of coffee.
The idea is a collaboration with "‘Hi from the Other Side," a startup founded by Harvard Business School student Henry Tsai, and the Seattle-based coffee giant.
Tsai told Fox News that he started the project after the presidential election, when he believed people in the U.S. were talking past each other and not having civil conversations.
"I believe in the power of hearing people’s stories. So I think that face-to-face or one-on-one conversations over phone or video chat can help us see that," said Tsai. "'Hey, this is someone who also wants what’s best for the country. Maybe they’re not dumb or evil after all.'"
Participants of any political leaning can sign up using a Facebook app. They will then be matched with someone in close physical proximity who identifies with an opposing political party. Both users then receive half of the information needed to unlock a Starbucks gift card. When both of the parties meet, they must work together to solve riddle, and can then collect their gift card.
“We’re happy be able to get involved with activities like this that bring people together – in fact, we do this all the time,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Fox News via email.
Starbucks added that this is not a formal partnership or initiative, but a limited contribution of under 300 gift cards, offered as “a gesture of support" provided to customers, partners and organizations pursuing "positive social impact."
Though the new collaboration may be limited, the coffee chain is no stranger to making political statements, and has endured plenty of pushback.
In 2012, Starbucks' support for the legalization of same-sex marriage sparked calls for a boycott, and in 2013, Schultz declared Starbucks' U.S. stores as gun-free zones -- which resulted in gun-rights activists intentionally bringing firearms to stores during a "Bring Your Gun to Starbucks Day" organized via social media.
During the presidential election, followers of then-president elect Trump took to Starbucks, asking baristas to write “Trump” on their cups in a movement known as #TrumpCup.
In January, in response to President Trump’s travel ban and suspension of America’s refugee program, Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, vowed to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide, causing Trump supporters to threaten a boycott of the company.
Dan Hill, CEO of Hill Impact, a firm that works with celebrities, nonprofits, and businesses performing reputation and crisis management, told Fox News that when it comes to Starbucks’ political initiatives, it cuts both ways always.
“We saw what happened with Chick-fil-A, people were boycotting, but then others lined up to support it. It depends on your ideology,” Hill says.
“As much as people may complain about Starbucks, you don’t see much of an impact in terms of sales… the biggest point is that it has to be consistent with the mission and values the business lives and breathes every day. If you try to be timely or catch fire, that’s when it backfires," Hill said.
He added, "In the case of the “Race Together” campaign it seemed like they were trying to capitalize on something in the news."
As for the latest attempt, Tsai says he's gotten a lot of positive feedback from those involved.
A Trump supporter wrote: "This is a great tool to help us all better understand the other side. We had a great hour and a half conversation. We both respected each other’s position. I would like to have more conversations with others from the ‘other side.'"
A Clinton supporter wrote: “I want to reiterate how grateful I am for this program. It was a great experience learning about each other’s lives and dreams, talking civilly about where we diverge, and finding surprising amounts of common ground.”