I went on a “barista tour” at a West Hollywood Starbucks yesterday, which is really a glorified interview with the store manager, a woman named Susan. The cool thing was that she pointed out a few ways to save money at Starbucks that I wasn’t aware of.
- NOT ON THE MENU: a short size (8 oz) has just as much espresso but is about $.30 less than a small
- A cheap cousin to the schmancy latte is a Cafe Misto, which is half coffee, half milk and about $.85 cheaper!
- Register your Starbucks card and get free brewed refills. Otherwise they are $.50. Registering your card also gets you freebies like soy milk, syrups, a free tall drink when you buy a pound of beans, and two free hours of WiFi a day. Otherwise it is $4 for two hours through AT&T.
- Get $.10 off your drink when you supply your own cup.
- The “treat receipt” deal is back through Sept. 30. Make any purchase before 2 p.m. and return after 2 p.m. to get a grande cold beverage for $2 (eligible drinks run $2.40 – $3.95 so you stand to save a nice bit).
- The $4 pairings save up to $.90 on a drink and snack. (Options are a tall coffee + breakfast sandwich OR a tall latte and coffee cake).
- If you order decaf in the afternoon they will often offer to make you an Americano (espresso + water) for the same price if you don’t want to wait for a fresh brew. Americano = niiiiiiice.
- If you buy three mini scones the price is $1.95 instead of $.75 each, saving you $.30.
- A third of the drinks on the menu are under $2 and half are under $3.
At the end of the interview I asked the PR rep, who was closely following along, how Starbucks’ efforts to promote their lower priced options, in effect putting them on par pricing-wise with Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s, was affecting their reputation. She gave me a fab answer then said I couldn’t quote her. Here’s the official response from headquarters:
“We’re pleased that we can remain nimble and flexible, particularly in times of economic uncertainty and respond appropriately to our customers needs in a way that is consistent with the Starbucks brand and reputation for quality. Starbucks has always had an assortment of products at easy price points. Now we’re highlighting existing affordable options and adding new, lower priced offerings to the mix.
“First, we feel that all the extras we don’t charge for deliver a whole lot of value –from our comfy chairs to the smile on your baristas face – the Starbucks Experience doesn’t cost anything extra.”
Hmmm, do you think Starbucks is getting cheaper?