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It applies to all sizes, from tall to trenta

Tim Nelson
June 08, 2018

It’s been a big few weeks for Starbucks. The multinational chain just had its longtime CEO and chairman Howard Schultz step down, and the week prior saw the implementation of their long-anticipated racial sensitivity training program. Now, another subtler shift could have the chain’s habitual coffee drinkers steaming.

While news of the Schultz departure was making the rounds this week, Starbucks quietly raised the price on its brewed coffee between 10 and 20 cents. The Wall Street Journal reports that the upcharge will be introduced at a majority of the 8,000 stand-alone Starbucks outlets across the country, and will apply to all sizes, from tall to trenta. A tall coffee that once cost $1.95 will now retail for $2.15, for example. Prices for other drinks are slated to remain unchanged for the moment.

According to a Starbucks rep who spoke with the Journal, the increases aren’t an attempt to price gouge consumers, but are a natural effort by the company to try and balance their books. Operating expenses have risen 9% so far this fiscal year, with cost of sales (a factor which includes rent) has gone up 13%. These recent price changes also seem to be in line with industry-wide inflation.

The spokeswoman said that the price increase is not an attempt to recoup lost sales from closing 8,000 stores on the afternoon of May 29. But it’s at least shrewd of Starbucks to make such a change when it seems calculated to make less waves in the news cycle compared to the other stories surrounding it. And with more people hanging out in a Starbucks who won’t be buying anything, it makes sense to get a little more change out of those who do. 

Either way, you’re probably going to keep getting your coffee from there because you both crave convenience and fear change. It’ll just cost slightly more over time to do it. You’ll live.


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