Does your organic coffeehouse charge more for soy? Why?

There seems to be a rather unfair punishment for customers ordering soy that's based more on what the market will bear than on actual cost ratios -- that is, assuming the cafe is using the healthiest, high-quality organic cow-milk and serving Fair Trade organic coffee. In an area where there's a consistent market for soy drinks, and as demand grows all the time, isn't it time we adjust prices to reflect its standing? Why, when the difference in cost couldn't possibly amount to more than a few cents per serving, is the industry norm to inflict a mark-up of $.50, regardless of drink size?

I'm not a manager in the cafe I work at... I don't crunch the numbers myself. I just know that we don't charge any more for soy than for cow, and that as a soy-drinker (admittedly spoiled by my endless free drinks at work) I always feel a little ripped when I encounter the soy-tax...

Views: 1257

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I don't use soy... I'm allergic and my husband reacts to the natural plant estrogen.
Soy makes better fuel, plastic and paints then food products.
I hope to offer a few other alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant... and soy for those who must.
In a perfect world, the price of the bev would stay consistent, regardless of the milk (or "milk-like product") being used. That being said, thats not reality. While soy is more expensive that moo juice, its not .50C per drink more expensive... unless you're going for that nice markup, which most places go for. Shamefully, the cafe I work at is one of those. But, I decided long ago that I shant bitch nor complain on business practices of my bosses, since its not my place (its their baby, after all).
welp, I get to complain all i want, as a soy-consumer, and as a worker in a place that graciously does not charge. Yay!

The way I see it, in a good conscientious non-gouging cafe, the only justifiable reason to pass a cost onto customers would be a gross, untenable disparity of costs to the cafe. I can only see that being the case with some pretty dang special soy milk, and that stuff is out there, I don't mean to sound facetious. At any rate, this begs the question:

Was soymilk X and its savings to customers considered before making the choice to go for pricier soymilk Y?
Has anyone ever polled consumers to find out if they're happy paying the premium for Y, when in a noble cafe they might have X with no extra cost?
And finally, do soy-upchargers also leave soy out on counters next to regular milks and sweeteners, or cost more for a splash in some coffee? (In strange cafes, for iced lattes, I've gotten around the charge by asking for just a shot on ice, then adding my "splash" at the condiment counter, or asking for it after the transaction. Miserly, sure, but a principled subversion I think. ;)
We do not charge extra for soy or rice. I figure that it is a nice touch being able to offer something like this- and to be honest its not a huge part of our business.
I loved the line about "just asking for shot on ice, then adding soy at the condiment bar". Mind if I copy that over to the thread about how to prevent freeloading "ghetto latte" customers?

We don't charge for a splash of soy instead of half-and-half, but do a flat upcharge for the substitutions. Upcharging seems fair, soy costs more. Not 50 cents more, but 1-2 cents per ounce, which is significant in a 16oz beverage. Just go to the grocery store and look at the per ounce price difference if you are actually curious. Why would you not apply the same margin to soy as you do for all other ingredients?

Guys, please don't forget that the "nice markup" that your store "inflicts" on your customers is what pays the electric bill, the rent, your wage, and probably not much else.
Brady said:
I loved the line about "just asking for shot on ice, then adding soy at the condiment bar". Mind if I copy that over to the thread about how to prevent freeloading "ghetto latte" customers?

We don't charge for a splash of soy instead of half-and-half, but do a flat upcharge for the substitutions. Upcharging seems fair, soy costs more. Not 50 cents more, but 1-2 cents per ounce, which is significant in a 16oz beverage. Just go to the grocery store and look at the per ounce price difference if you are actually curious. Why would you not apply the same margin to soy as you do for all other ingredients?

Guys, please don't forget that the "nice markup" that your store "inflicts" on your customers is what pays the electric bill, the rent, your wage, and probably not much else.
Firstly, Brady, I gotta say, you're one of my favorite contributors on BX.
Secondly, I do realize that soy costs more. Most of my responses towards how the cafe I work at is run are mostly tongue in cheek: If I gotta give the Big Kat one thing, is that he knows how to run a business, and run it well. Thats why I don't complain (too much) about white mochas. But I understand your point.
If the market is there, soy can be purchased in bulk and stored for longer. There's gotta be some element of savings in that shelf life, which must be significant considering how much space and refrigeration is dedicated to calf-food, and when it comes down to a few cents per latte. And if the market's not there for bulk -- again, given how long it keeps, how much could be lost by keeping a few cartons around that wouldn't be offset by gaining the respect of a few loyal soy-happy customers?

I can't help but think that in time, with the rising costs of resources that are squandered funneled into milk production, soon enough the cost of cows' milk will match and surpass that of the bean, and then the cost excuse at coffee bars will officially be null (which, if it weren't for government subsidies, it already would be). Apocalyptic prophesies aside, it seems we all agree the flat $.50 is a rip. An extra dime -- eh, I wouldn't cry about that as a customer, though as long as there are places willing to eat that dime to retain my business, there's a grumble somewhere in my mind.

Janvier -- an honest curiosity, since I see you're in Po-town -- with all the vegan stuff up there, what's the price comparison between lattes at a vegan cafes vs conventional coffeehouses? Do the vegans charge more?

PS: for the record, I have to admit it does kinda burn me a little when people soak up all the condiments, or when people get things in "to go" containers, thereby avoiding SF sales tax, yet drink the whole thing in-house, thereby also wasting a to-go cup and sleeve. I'd still stick with my freeloading soy methods, though, because if a place is willing to give something away in one instance, I don't think I should be charged in another.
As a fellow soy drinker, I do find myself irretated when soy has a charge. It may not be as obvious to those who haven't worked in a cafe, but cost wise, it's almost like a punishment.
Unfortunatly the cost of soy for the cafe I work at is higher than the cost of milk, so we have to charge slightly more for soy milk. We only charge for drinks where milk is a large componant though, so adding soy to an Americano would be free, however a latte would be 20p extra. It's just a sad fact of buisness for some cafes. We did try giving it free but its was just another overhead to swallow, and we already swallow enough overheads in order to provide a fantastic product for a relatively small price.
I completely understand with COG's that it is rediculous to eat those costs as a buisness, but to some people, soy is their only choice in cases of lactose intolerance or dietary needs, this is where I find it frustrating, but majority of people aren't this way, and I accept it.

janvier said:
Prices flux constantly but will give you a general idea: Around $3 for 24oz soy container | Around $3 for a 128oz gallon of whole milk. See the difference.

You can be irritated all you want, but it's significant price difference. That price is charged to us by the companies manufacturing soy milk. I don't see how it's a business' responsibility to swallow even more overhead to facilitate what for most people amounts to a lifestyle choice.

At a completely vegan cafe in town (they have amazing cupcakes) I get charged $3.20 for an 8oz latte that is made with soy milk. The standard around town for an 8oz double latte with cow milk is less than $3. The milk based beverages on the menu are priced to reflect the added cost of soy.
I understand totally the need to minimise the cost of soy. It is a buisness cost, so as a buisness we need to reflect that in the price, but to a certain extent we can swallow the cost, or recover it in cheaper goods which can command a higher price, such as croissants, etc.
I totally agree with janvier. The cost for a gallon of soy is about 4-5 times as much as milk and still double the price if you are using organic milk. as a cafe owner you need to recoup that cost. the coffee shops here in town charge $0.65 on all size drinks. this is think is too much. the markup should be broken up into sizes. but honestly i think all the milk slinging we are doing around here is retarted anyway. what does a 16oz latte have to do with coffee. viva la revolution - no more milk drinks - a dream? maybe, but someday you'll see!
janvier said:
Prices flux constantly but will give you a general idea: Around $3 for 24oz soy container | Around $3 for a 128oz gallon of whole milk. See the difference.

You can be irritated all you want, but it's significant price difference. That price is charged to us by the companies manufacturing soy milk. I don't see how it's a business' responsibility to swallow even more overhead to facilitate what for most people amounts to a lifestyle choice.

At a completely vegan cafe in town (they have amazing cupcakes) I get charged $3.20 for an 8oz latte that is made with soy milk. The standard around town for an 8oz double latte with cow milk is less than $3. The milk based beverages on the menu are priced to reflect the added cost of soy.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2022   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service