Starbucks Is Raising Prices On Its Coffee & Here’s How It Might Affect You
Get ready to crack open your wallets a little further each morning, Starbucks fans. Your morning cup of coffee is about to cost between 10 and 20 cents more at most locations across the U.S. as Starbucks raises its coffee prices. The price increase will take effect across all sizes of hot brewed coffee, but most other specialty drinks will not be affected, a Starbucks spokesperson tells Bustle, including lattes, tea lattes, mochas, iced coffees, Frappuccinos, iced teas, and cold brew coffees.
The spokesperson also tells Bustle that Starbucks' price increase is "not related to last week's store closures and trainings," referring to the company-wide closure of Starbucks stores on May 29 for employee anti-bias training. The training was a response to an April incident where two Black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks location were arrested while waiting for someone to join them. (However, analysts for the Wall Street Journal estimated Starbucks lost $12 million in sales that day.) Instead, the increase, which Fortune noted is the third such increase in three years, is due to overall economic factors, a Starbucks spokesperson tells Bustle.
"Starbucks continually evaluates pricing on a product-by-product and market-by-market basis." the spokesperson tells Bustle via email. "Evaluating prices periodically allows us to balance the need to run our business profitably while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers and to attract new customers."
Customers will see different prices in different Starbucks locations because "[b]everage and food prices vary by location," the spokesperson also says. "In the past year, Starbucks increased prices 1 – 2 % [sic] which is on par with the industry practices and is in line with food away from home inflation which is 2.2% – 2.4% [sic]."
Previous Starbucks price increases included a 2016 increase that affected cold drinks and baked goods, raising their prices between 10 and 30 cents, and a 2017 increase where some sizes of hot coffee went up 10 to 20 cents, and espresso prices rose between 10 and 30 cents, Fortune reported.
People noted that the hike, though financially on trend with Starbucks' prior price changes, is one of several changes the brand has made this year, including adding the Triple Mocha Frappuccino, Ultra Caramel Frappuccino, and the Serious Strawberry Frappuccino to its permanent menu, and announcing that it was cutting its limited-time drink offerings by 30 percent, according to a report from the Toronto Star.
Though drinks like the Unicorn Frappuccino and the Crystal Ball Frappuccino are pretty much made for Instagram, enthusiasm for the experimental sips may be waning. The original Unicorn Frappuccino "drove significant traffic to [Starbucks] during its limited run as well as brand awareness and affinity," CNBC reported, but since then, Starbucks hasn't seen as dramatic a sales bump from limited-edition specialty drinks, according to Grub Street.
On top of that, frapp fans had to contend with another disappointing Starbucks announcement in January, when the brand cancelled its Frappuccino Happy Hour special, which previously offered half-price frappes from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Reuters reported.
All the menu shuffling is part of Starbucks shifting its focus to new products, including cold brews and teas, Starbucks chief operating officer Rosalind Brewer said in a January call to investors, Grub Street reported. That explains additions like Starbucks' recently released line of wellness teas, as well as a lineup of new food options, called Mercato, which Starbucks is adding to 1,800 more locations.
Starbucks also increased staff wages twice this year, once as part of its routine annual raise, and again in April as a response to lowered corporate taxes, Business Insider reported. According to Business Insider, staff had previously complained about wages, with one anonymous barista quoted as saying, "I don't know how many times I've heard that we're the most important part of the company. If we're the most important part of the company and our connection is that important, [they shouldn't be] paying as little as they can get away with paying."
For now, customers will have to pay up to get their hands on that sweet, sweet summer blonde roast.