Business briefs

2013-06-22T00:00:00Z Business briefsFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
June 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Starbucks hiking prices

Starbucks wants a little extra change for that latte.

The Seattle-based coffee company says it's hiking prices on average by 1 percent nationally starting on Tuesday. But it says the price for many drinks, such as medium and large brewed coffees and Frappuccinos, won't change in most of its 11,000 U.S. cafes.

For a small brewed coffee, the price will increase by 10 cents at most. Other drinks could increase by more than that.

"Less than a third of beverages will see a small increase in most stores," said Lisa Passe, a Starbucks spokeswoman. The increases will vary by region and may apply to different drinks.

Depending on the market, Starbucks Corp. notes it's the first price hike most customers will have seen in about two years.

The price hike comes despite falling coffee costs that have boosted the company's profits. In the last quarter, Starbucks cited lower coffee costs for a stronger operating margin, which represents the money it pockets from sales after subtracting what it pays to keep stores running.

Olive Garden is luring diners with specials

If the free breadsticks and unlimited soup and salad aren't enough, Olive Garden is hitting the gas on other promotions to get customers through its doors.

Darden Restaurants Inc., which has been struggling to hold onto customers in recent years, said deal offers like its "2 for $25" dinner special helped drive up customer traffic at its flagship Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains in the latest quarter. The strategy raises concerns among some investors, who worry that it's a short-term fix that only hurts profit margins.

The Associated Press

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