Another Toronto Starbucks called out for charging more than others for the same drink
Though there are a ton of phenomenal indie coffee shops in Toronto for your next caffeine fix, ever-ubiquitous Starbucks remains the top choice for devout fans of the brand and its offerings.
Part of any big chain's draw is the fact that menu items are predictable and consistent no matter where in the world a store is — or at least, they should be.
But, in the case of some Starbucks in Toronto, customers are noticing that though the drinks themselves may be the same, the pricing for them varies.
One woman noticed a cost disparity between her home location on Danforth and another one on Lakeshore, which charged her considerably more for her go-to vanilla cappucino a few months ago, prompting her to reach out to blogTO.
And now, another Starbucks regular has observed higher pricing at one cafe than others nearby.
Same happens in grocery stores. Depends on the neighborhood. Prices are different.— Lisa Hamilton 🇨🇦 (@lisafjhamilton) November 30, 2021
For Simon Williams-Im's standard drink, a grande iced Americano, the cost is $3.45 pre-tax or $3.62 after tax at numerous locations in his area, including at Yonge and Eglinton's Minto Tower, at Mount Pleasant and Soudan, and at 2630 Yonge St., just north of Eg.
But, at the Yonge and Erskine Ave. Starbucks, the drink is $3.95 before tax, or $4.15 after.
A quick look on the cafe's mobile app shows that the pattern indeed continues for a number of beverages at the store, many of which end up 50 cents pricier. This is despite the fact that the location is only 500 metres (or a seven-minute walk) away from another one with lower prices.
While a manager from the Yonge and Erskine store was unavailable for comment, the customer from the last incident told blogTO that a staff member at the higher-price-point location told her that the difference was because they are a high-volume store. Starbucks Corporate has said this isn't a term they use, exactly, to determine pricing.
But, a media representative did say that operating and occupancy expenses such as labour, rent, equipment, distribution and commodities — including the coffee itself — do factor into the final cost of a drink at any given location, and do vary from market to market and neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
Starbucks isn't the only company that's known for varied pricing between locations, as customers of Loblaws, McDonalds, or other grocery and fast food chains in the city might know.
It's not just a Toronto thing, either, but a common practice among brands worldwide (whether franchised or not), meaning that the cost of living in a popular and thus already expensive area will likely mean that your food and drink purchases will be hiked up to higher prices, too.
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