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How To Price Coffee Shop Menu (Coffee Shop Pricing)


Setting the right prices is critical to a successful coffee shop business. Whether you’re embarking on a coffee shop startup journey or looking to fine-tune your charged coffee menu, mastering the art of coffee pricing is essential. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of pricing coffee drinks, exploring various pricing strategies for coffee shops. 

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

Building your coffee shop menu is a part of writing your coffee shop business plan

To begin with, you must do market research and define who your customers are and their preferences. For that purpose, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Who are my target customers?
  • What kind of coffee do they like?
    • Do they prefer classic espresso, Americano, or coffee with lactose-free or rice milk? 
    • With or without added flavored syrups? 
    • Do they prefer many add-ons and/or variations?
  • What menu items can the baristas I hire handle? 
  • Will preparing certain menu items during the morning rush hour be a problem?
  • What else will be on offer? Will it only be sweet additions like cakes and croissants, or do I plan to offer sandwiches and breakfasts?

Once you answer these questions, you can think of menu prices. 

Creating your restaurant menu pricing is a delicate balance for coffee shop owners: prices must be tempting enough to turn first-time visitors into coffee shop customers yet structured to ensure your business’s profitability.

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

Offer a menu that’s easy to access while catering to those willing to splurge on premium options. 

If you plan to open a coffee shop at the beginning of your journey, remember to price your specialty coffee drinks to cover your coffee shop startup costs like coffee shop equipment and other costs involved in achieving a coffee shop’s success. 

Why does the appropriate coffee shop pricing matter?

When you open a coffee shop, you need to correctly price your menu items to ensure the success of your coffee shop business. Appropriate coffee shop pricing matters for several reasons:
  • Profitability: Pricing your coffee and menu items correctly ensures that your business is profitable. It helps cover your costs, including coffee beans, equipment, rent, and staff salaries while leaving room for a margin contributing to your bottom line.
  • Competitiveness: Setting your prices competitive with other coffee shops in your area can attract customers and keep you in the game.
  • Customer perception: Pricing can influence how customers perceive the quality and value of your coffee. Setting reasonable prices for your quality can build trust and loyalty among your customer base.
  • Revenue optimization: Proper pricing strategies can maximize your revenue potential. This includes considering upselling, cross-selling, and offering options that cater to different customer segments.
  • Sustainability: Sustainable pricing allows your coffee shop to thrive in the long run. It ensures you can cover all your costs and invest in improvements, maintaining the quality of your products and services.
  • Customer retention: Fair and transparent pricing practices can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Adaptation to market changes: The coffee industry is dynamic, and pricing strategies may need adjustments as market conditions change. Having the right pricing strategies in place allows you to adapt to shifts in the market and customer preferences.
coffee shop prices - coffee shop

What determines the cost of coffee?

Several factors influence the cost of coffee:
  • Fixed Costs: Fixed costs remain constant regardless of the volume of coffee sold. Examples include rent, equipment depreciation, and insurance premiums. These costs contribute to the base price you need to cover before generating a profit from each cup of coffee.
  • Variable costs: Variable costs vary with the level of coffee production. Examples include coffee beans, milk, and disposable cups. Monitoring and managing variable costs are crucial to maintaining profit margins.
  • Necessary profit margin: To ensure the sustainability and growth of your coffee business, you need to set a profit margin that covers both fixed and variable costs while allowing for future investments and expansion.
  • Competitors: The pricing strategies of other independent coffee shops in the local market can influence your coffee pricing. Analyze their pricing structures and consider positioning your coffee offerings competitively.
  • Value provided to customers: The perceived value of your coffee to customers plays a significant role in pricing. High-quality coffee beans, unique blends, excellent customer service, artisanal preparation methods, and ambiance can justify higher prices. Emphasize these aspects in your marketing to support premium pricing.
  • Economies of scale: As your coffee shop grows, economies of scale may allow you to lower variable costs through bulk purchasing and more efficient operations. This can positively impact your pricing strategy, enabling you to offer competitive prices while maintaining high-profit margins.
  • Customer demand: Monitor customer preferences and demand for different coffee options. Use menu engineering to adjust your pricing based on the popularity and profitability of various beverages to maximize revenue.
coffee shop prices - coffee shop

Defining a coffee shop pricing strategy

According to Start My Coffee Shop, typically, coffee shops apply an average markup of approximately 80% to their coffee prices. This markup involves adding 80% to preparing a cup of coffee, including the direct cost and all associated indirect expenses. Determining coffee shop prices, and ensuring they are attractive to customers while covering costs and generating profit, can be called a coffee shop pricing strategy. Remember that observing variations in profit margins among different items is common in any coffee shop menu. coffee shop prices - coffee shop For instance, coffee beverages like Americanos typically boast higher profit margins than more elaborate options, such as coffee beverages with syrups or flavorings. These differences are often influenced by the cost of additional ingredients and preparation time, highlighting the importance of a well-balanced menu catering to profitability and customer preferences. Here are some most popular strategies for pricing coffee beverages.

1. Food cost percentage pricing

One of the pricing methods for coffee shops is based on food cost percentage. In summary, the process begins by assessing the ingredient costs for each product. Afterward, you assign a price to the product and calculate the food cost percentage based on that price. If the percentage is too high or too low, adjust the price accordingly and recalculate until it aligns with your desired food cost percentage. The formula is as follows

Food Cost Percentage = (Cost of Food / Total Sales) * 100

Example of calculating food cost percentage for a latte

Ingredients and costs:

  • Coffee Beans – $0.50
  • Milk – $0.50
  • Vanilla Syrup – $0.25 (optional)
  • Whipped Cream – $0.25 (optional)

Total ingredient cost calculation = $0.50 + $0.50 + $0.25 + $0.25 = $1.50

Let’s assume the latte is sold at $4.00.

Food cost percentage = (Cost of Food / Total Sales) * 100 = ($1.50/$4) * 100 = 37.5%

The resulting food cost percentage is approximately 37.5%. This calculation shows that the cost of ingredients represents about 37.5% of the latte’s selling price.

Here you can read more about how to calculate food cost percentage.

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

According to Espresso Services Inc., the food costs typically range from 30% to 35% of the total revenue. 

For instance, if a cafe generates $25,000 in weekly sales and the combined cost of food and beverages for that week amounts to $8,000, the food cost percentage is calculated at 32%.

2. Gross profit margin pricing

This method focuses on the profit margin a coffee shop aims to achieve for each drink it serves. To employ this approach, a coffee shop establishes its desired gross profit margin.

This entails calculating the total cost, encompassing ingredients, and operational overhead, and then adding a specific percentage to reach the target margin. 

The formula for calculating the selling price based on the gross profit margin is as follows:

Selling price = COGS / (1 – Gross profit margin) 

Example of gross profit margin pricing

Let’s say you want to calculate the price of an espresso-based drink. You need to start by calculating the cost of all the ingredients for making an espresso-based drink. 

The ingredients are as follows

  • Espresso Coffee Beans: $0.50
  • Milk: $0.25
  • Flavor Syrup (if used): $0.10
  • Disposable Cup and Lid: $0.05

Total Cost of Ingredients: $0.50 + $0.25 + $0.10 + $0.05 = $0.90

Let’s assume these overhead costs for the drink are $0.30. 

What are the overhead costs?

In our case, the overhead costs are any additional costs associated with making the drink, such as utilities, equipment maintenance, and employee wages contributing to preparing the drink. 

Now you can calculate the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The formula is as follows

Total Cost (COGS): Cost of Ingredients + Overhead Costs

Total Cost (COGS): $0.90 + $0.30 = $1.20

Let’s assume that your coffee’s desired gross profit margin is 70% on this drink.

You calculate the selling price using gross profit margin:

Selling Price = COGS / (1 – Desired Profit Margin)

Selling Price = $1.20 / (1 – 0.70) = $1.20 / 0.30 = $4.00

So, in this example, to achieve a desired gross profit margin of 70% on the espresso-based coffee drink with a total cost of $1.20 (COGS), the coffee shop would set the selling price at $4.00. 

This ensures that the coffee shop meets its profit goals while managing its beverage costs effectively.

3. Cost-plus pricing

Coffee shop owners can employ this pricing strategy, which involves calculating the total cost of crafting a beverage, including the cost of ingredients and overhead expenses, and then adding a predetermined markup percentage to establish the selling price.

While it offers simplicity and ensures that each drink covers its costs while contributing to overall profit, one huge limitation is considering demand and competitors’ pricing for similar beverages.

Example of cost-plus pricing for a coffee shop

Let’s assume that:

  • A specialty coffee drink costs $1.50 in ingredients (coffee beans, milk, syrups).
  • Overhead expenses for preparing and serving the drink amount to $0.30.

Total Cost (COGS): $1.50 + $0.30 = $1.80

The coffee shop management decides on a 40% markup for this drink. To calculate the selling price, you need to use the following formula

Selling Price = Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) + (Markup Percentage x COGS)

Selling Price = $1.80 + (0.40 x $1.80) = $1.80 + $0.72 = $2.52

Therefore, to achieve a 40% markup on a specialty coffee drink with a total cost of $1.80 (COGS), the coffee shop would set the selling price at $2.52. 

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

4. Dynamic pricing

It is a strategy for adjusting prices based on various factors such as demand, time of day, and special promotions. 

For example, during happy hours, a coffee shop may offer discounted prices on certain beverages to attract more customers during typically slower times. 

Additionally, introducing limited-time, seasonal coffee beverages at a premium price during the holiday season can capitalize on customers’ interest in unique and festive flavors, optimizing revenue.

Example of coffee shop dynamic pricing

This coffee shop introduces a “Day-End Delight” Happy Hour from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM every weekday. They offer a 25% discount on all brewed coffee and baked goods during this period. This dynamic pricing strategy aims to attract customers during the slower late afternoon hours and boost sales while reducing leftover inventory of pastries and coffee.

5. Portion pricing

As a coffee shop owner, you can use a portion pricing strategy. It is a popular approach implemented by many coffee shops nowadays. How does it work?

Portion pricing in coffee shops involves setting prices for different sizes of beverages or portion options to balance affordability and profitability. Coffee shops often offer a range of sizes to cater to diverse customer preferences.

When determining prices for different beverage sizes, ensure that the profit margin for each drink falls within your specified target range.

coffee shop prices - coffee sizes starbucks

6. Markup pricing (factor pricing)

It is a straightforward and commonly used strategy in restaurant businesses. It involves adding a set percentage markup to the cost of producing each menu item. 

To calculate factor pricing, use this pricing factor formula

Pricing Factor = 1 / Ideal Food Cost Percentage


  • Ideal food cost percentage: This represents the desired proportion of the selling price that should cover the cost of ingredients.
  • Pricing factor: After calculation, this multiplier is applied to the ingredient cost to establish the final selling price.


If your ideal food cost percentage for a specialty coffee is 30%, you would calculate the pricing factor as follows:

Pricing Factor = 1 / 30% = 3.33

Let’s assume that the cost to make this specialty coffee is $2.50. To determine the selling price, you would multiply the cost by the pricing factor:

Selling Price = $2.50 × 3.33 = $8.33

Therefore, the selling price for the specialty coffee, while maintaining a 30% ideal food cost percentage, would be approximately $8.33.

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

7. Combo pricing

It involves bundling multiple items at a discounted price, encouraging customers to purchase more items as part of a value deal. 

For example, you could offer a “Breakfast Combo” that includes a breakfast sandwich and a small coffee for $6, whereas purchasing the sandwich and coffee separately would cost $4.50 and $2.50, respectively. 

coffee shop prices - coffee shop

After determining your coffee shop’s pricing, you can use a menu-making app to easily design and maintain your menu. 

Use menu management software to assist in crafting your restaurant menu.

If you plan to sell products online, explore the option of building a coffee shop website with an integrated online ordering system online ordering system.

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Key Takeaways

  • When opening a coffee shop, meticulous financial planning and considering all cost factors are essential. 
  • Setting appropriate menu prices ensures a strong start and long-term success in the coffee shop business.
  • Understanding your target market’s preferences and spending habits is essential for setting menu prices that align with their expectations and willingness to pay.
  • Striking a balance between competitive menu prices and covering labor costs, operational costs, and ingredient expenses is crucial for the financial sustainability of your coffee shop.
  • Choosing the right strategy, whether value-based, cost-plus, or markup pricing, should align with your coffee shop’s unique brand, target market, and overall business goals to maximize profitability and customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Coffee shops price their coffee by considering the cost of coffee beans, milk, flavorings, and other ingredients. They also factor in labor costs, rent, utilities, and other operational expenses.

Coffee shops often employ pricing strategies like food cost percentage pricing, cost-plus pricing, value-based pricing, or premium pricing, depending on their target market and branding, to determine the final menu prices for their coffee offerings.

According to Coffee Business, labor costs are often the most significant expense for coffee shops. It’s advisable to aim for a labor cost percentage between 35% and 45% of your total income. Exceeding this range can leave limited room for profit margins. 

Pricing coffee in a coffee shop involves considering various factors. Start by calculating the cost of ingredients, including coffee beans, milk, syrups, and other additives. Next, assess overhead expenses like rent, labor, and operational costs. Finally, determine the profit margin you want to achieve, and set menu prices that balance covering your costs and meeting customer expectations in your target market. You can also use one of the coffee shop pricing strategies we described in this article.

Agata Kubiak - Padkowska

Agata Kubiak - Padkowska

Digital content creator, passionate about helping restaurants to start selling online.

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