Many voters feared that electing Donald Trump into office would cause prices to go up. In a way, they did. Just 48 hours after the election, Starbucks made its customers endure yet another price hike – the second one in four months.
If you thought your Iced Tea or slice of banana bread was already expensive enough, your favorite drinks and baked goods will now cost you even more. While we were all embroiled in the presidential debate several weeks ago, Starbucks went behind our backs and quietly raised the price for many of their offerings.
On November 10, the popular coffee chain increased prices on 10% on its items. Bakery items and cold drinks were just some of the food and beverages affected by the price hike, which added between 10 and 30 cents to many items in locations across the United States.
While the average tab will increase just 0.5%, customers are not pleased with the recent price hike, considering that Starbucks just raised prices in July. Citing rent and labor costs, Starbucks increased prices of drinks by 1%, which meant your favorite coffee or tea drink went up by 5 to 20 cents.
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Customers took to social media to express their disgust. While Starbucks frequenters are no stranger to the chain’s notoriously high prices, enough was enough for some. “The cost of your favorite beverage just went from ‘ungodly’ to ‘go ahead and sell that kidney,'” lamented one customer.
However, not everyone was upset. One customer was at peace with the price hike, stating that Starbucks is actually a good deal, considering that it has Wi-Fi and is used as a co-working space for many remote workers.
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So what was the reason for the recent price hike? In a statement, Starbucks explained that prices are constantly evaluated for each product in every market. As such, sometimes price changes need to be made in order to balance business needs. For example, cold drinks had stayed at the same price for two years, so they were not affected by the price hike in July.
In addition, Starbucks is looking to attract new customers, since growth is slowing down. Locations open for longer than one year had grown by 4% in the fourth quarter – below the forecasted growth of 4.9%.
Besides the price hike just after the election, Starbucks has been involved in a couple other political controversies in November. Just before the election, Starbucks intended to create unity during a controversial time in America by offering a green cup. The green cup only stirred more controversy, as customers were confused about the meaning of the cup and even thought it meant that Starbucks endorsed the Green Party. This led customers to accuse Starbucks of brainwashing.
Fast forward to several weeks later, when Starbucks became stuck in the middle of a political movement. Trump supporters encouraged baristas to write Trump’s name on cups as a way to show support for those who voted for him and ridicule those who didn’t.
The recent Starbucks price hike begs the question: When will enough be enough? While Starbucks has some delicious, addicting drinks, how much will you pay for one? What will happen when a Caramel Macchiato costs $6, $7 or more?
While a price increase of 0.5% may seem minimal, it’s not when you consider that many customers visit the coffee chain on a daily basis. An extra 30 cents a day is near $110 a year. That’s a huge expense simply for coffee, especially when you can make your own at home. Is it worth it?