Would you pay $7 for a flat white?

Would you pay $7 for a flat white?

Wellington coffee boss Richard Corney says New Zealanders need to be happy paying $7 for a large barista-brewed coffee if cafes are to survive 2022. But will they?

Coffee drinkers along Auckland’s popular Ponsonby Rd on Tuesday morning had a mixed response to such a price hike.

A woman named Evie said she paid $11 for two regular Allpress coffees and wouldn’t have made the order if the price was $14.

But marketer Amelia Lowe already pays $7 for her medium-sized oat milk flat white from Daily Bread, twice a week.

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“I’m totally happy to pay that, on an occasion,” she said.

“But $7 is probably my limit.”

Flight Coffee general manager Richard Corney says the price of a regular coffee needs to be $6 for cafes to survive.

KEVIN STENT/Stuff

Flight Coffee general manager Richard Corney says the price of a regular coffee needs to be $6 for cafes to survive.

Corney, the manager of Flight Coffee, said he was charging patrons $4 for a large flat white at his first cafe in Napier 15 years ago.

Since then rents, wages, the price of milk, and inflation have all made the cost of running a cafe go up tenfold, yet most places still charge $4.50 or $5. It’s not enough to survive, Corney said.

Corney thinks a fair price for a large dine-in coffee (300ml/10 oz) should be $6.50 to $7.

“In the new year, people have to be prepared to pay up to $7.20 for a large flat white, and $20 for a plate of brunch food. If you’re not, I completely understand, but we will see the demise of the hospitality sector,” he said.

Flight Coffee prices at The Hangar, a cafe in Wellington.

KEVIN STENT/Stuff

Flight Coffee prices at The Hangar, a cafe in Wellington.

Flight Coffee menu and coffee prices (for dine-in, regular size) at The Hangar, Wellington.

KEVIN STENT/Stuff

Flight Coffee menu and coffee prices (for dine-in, regular size) at The Hangar, Wellington.

Auckland tattooist Josh Hunter nips down to Cafe One2One four or five times a week for his break. His regular takeaway flat white costs $5. If prices increased to $6.50 or $7, he says his habit wouldn’t change.

“I imagine people wouldn’t like it. But if everywhere was like that, business would pretty much stay the same.”

Three Ponsonby locals and their french bulldog pick up a $5 iced Americano usually from Chapel Bar & Bistro.

“We get coffee every day in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon as well,” they said.

They’d still get two a day if prices went up.

“If it increased a little bit, I could understand. I’d still support them,” one said.

Flight Coffee barista Chose Sasaki at The Hangar, Wellington.

KEVIN STENT/Stuff

Flight Coffee barista Chose Sasaki at The Hangar, Wellington.

Other people were not so keen.

Rua, the owner of Poi, a new bar, said he has coffee every day.

“I’ll be honest – $5 is my max for a small or regular,” he admits.

“I’m not forking out more than that. Sorry, guys.”

Outside Orphan’s Kitchen, couple Tony and Patricia said – like Judith Collins and the block of tasty cheese – that they had no idea how much they’d just paid for their regular weekday coffees.

“Nah, [the price] isn’t a problem. If it’s badly made, then it’s a problem,” Tony said.

“It’s an addiction. If [the coffee] is better than we can do at home, then it’s fine.”

But when asked if they’d pay $6.50 to $7, Patricia said “absolutely not”.

If prices went up by a couple of bucks, they’d go somewhere else.

On Ponsonby Rd, Coffee House Organic is closed with a “for lease” sign posted in the window. Coffee wholesaler Richard Corney says this is a sight on most inner-city streets, as small businesses fall victim to the pandemic.

Jason Dorday/Stuff

On Ponsonby Rd, Coffee House Organic is closed with a “for lease” sign posted in the window. Coffee wholesaler Richard Corney says this is a sight on most inner-city streets, as small businesses fall victim to the pandemic.

In a Stuff poll, 35 per cent of people said the most they’d pay for a regular-sized coffee was $5, while 21 per cent of people would stretch to $5.50, 11 per cent would pay either $4 or $6, and just 6 per cent said they’d pay $6.50 or more.


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