The Real Reason Starbucks Is Facing Backlash Over Higher Prices

High prices at Starbucks are nothing new to the incredibly loyal customer base the coffee chain has developed over the years. (It's even been recognized as the most expensive coffee chain by Spoon University.) While Starbucks continues to roll out signature flavors, seasonal cup designs, and even "secret menu" items that can be made when customers order with very specific — and sometimes tedious — instructions, the latest price hike might be the final straw for those who have justified it in the past. 

According to The New York Times, like many restaurants and fast food chains, Starbucks has decided to increase its prices in 2022 due to supply chain issues and the labor crisis. But what The New York Times also points out is that Starbucks' profit reached $816 million in the last three months of 2021, meaning it actually saw more than a 30% increase. Though the coffee chain states is has been spending more on employees due to COVID-19, it seems many people (some of whom have taken to Twitter) are viewing the issue as something else entirely: corporate greed.

Customers and leaders are outraged by the news

Customers, company leaders, and even members of Congress didn't hesitate to share the New York Times story on Twitter and give their opinions on the matter. Dan Price, the CEO Gravity Payments, shared a link to the article and commented, "Starbucks: 'we are forced to raise prices due to inflation and supply-chain issues.' Also Starbucks: 'our profit just went up 31% and we gave our CEO a 39% raise to $20.4 million.' Companies are doing a great job rebranding corporate greed as 'inflation.'" Price, who is well known for his thoughts on fair employee wages, was praised in the comments on his tweet, with one user writing: "I love that you're focusing on busting them on their 'inflation' lies with their profit info." Price responded by adding, "they are just one of hundreds of examples. Across the nation, corporate profits are at the highest point in 70 years."

Congress member Pramila Jayapal also tweeted about the article, writing, "Despite soaring profits, Starbucks is raising prices AGAIN. We can't accept this level of corporate greed as the status quo. Tax the rich and make sure every single worker in America can join a union." Naturally, there were politically-charged responses to Jayapal's tweet, but it seems the underlying sentiment remains that Starbucks prices — and profits — are already higher than many customers care for.