Restaurant prices are still rising all across the United States, and even your regular coffee order at Starbucks is going to get more expensive in the coming weeks. According to a new report, this is the fifth time Starbucks is raising menu prices in two years. The coffee house chain is also implementing “additional pricing actions” that can result in extra fees for some beverages as it attempts to boost its bottom line in the second half of 2023.
Many consumers have already started to notice price changes in their area recently, and while some complain about yet another spike in menu costs, the company is seeing profits go through the roof. The controversial pricing strategy is being followed by multiple fast food and restaurant chains right now as they prepare for a consumer recession and introduce their final price hikes before the economy starts to crater again.
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Food industry analysts with NBS revealed that over the past couple of years, Starbucks products faced price hikes of 20% to 30%. And according to the international company’s second-quarter financial report, it looks like lattes aren’t going to cost less any time soon.
The last price increase announced by Starbucks dates to May 6, when it passed along a 20-cent hike on the cost of several beverages. So far this year, it raised prices by an average of 70 cents. In a recent interview, new CEO Laxman Narashiman said Starbucks price increases will moderate from now on. Thankfully, this means that they may not be as high as before. But the bad news is that they’re still happening.
Its latest earnings report cited higher operating expenses such as the rising cost of food, labor, and packaging as a reason why it will raise prices once more in 2023. However, the company’s announcement was met with criticism after people pointed out the decline in global coffee bean prices and other commodities in the past few months.
The company’s earnings report reveals that price increases drove net revenues up 15% year-over-year to a record $8.1 billion in 2022. The coffee house chain reported a 31% increase in profits in the past three months.
According to historian Andy Lewis, Starbucks’ explanation for the impending price increases amounts to nothing more than “word salad to hide corporate greed.” On a similar note, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen responded with outrage to Starbucks increasing prices for the fifth time after giving its CEO a nearly 40% raise last year. “Corporations are jacking up prices on consumers and using concerns about a recession as cover to do so,” he wrote.
At this moment, many big names in the restaurant industry are doing the same as Starbucks.Part of those added costs may indeed be unnecessary considering how much these companies are making. But the reality is that they can feel that much harder times are ahead of us and they’re trying to better position themselves to fight the recession that is starting to unfold. The restaurant business is the first to go down when a major economic downturn hits. That’s what happened during the pandemic when thousands of locations were shut down due to collapsing sales. A similar fate seems to approaching us, and those who didn’t come up with a plan won’t survive the storm.
Article and video via Epic Economist.