The Price of a Soda
So, this morning I decided to stop and grab some breakfast from a local fast food drive through. This is not my regular morning routine. Normally I just stop at the local convenience store and grab a soda and some kind of breakfast bar — I know the irony right. Anyway, I was a bit more hungry and opted for something a little more substantial. I pull up to the drive through, and there is a deal going on — two sandwiches for $4.00. I thought, “great, I’m not a fan of the breakfast potatoes, I’ll get the two sandwiches.” Of course, I’m going to need something to wash that down with, so I order a large Diet Coke — I know, I know, but it’s about my only vice. The guy says, “That’ll be $8.42.” I thought, dang, I must not have gotten the deal. So, I ask when I get to the window. The guy says it’s a $4.00 soda — actually something like $3.59. Anyway, I was floored. Three dollars and sixty cents for a soda — are you kidding me? But what could I do? I paid for it, after asking how they could justify that kind of price. The convenience store I usually stop at charges $0.79 for their large soda. I mean I wouldn’t be getting one in the morning if the cost was $3.60 — I’m not paying that price for my morning caffeine. I don’t know how some people pay that much for coffee every day or more.
So, this has been bugging me all day — how can a company justify that kind of price for a soda when so many other places charge much, much less? I did a little research and found a website that breaks down that cost. This was from 2010, but basically, a 20 oz soda cost about $0.22. Adjusting for increases in prices, let’s say a 25 oz soda costs $0.54. My convenience store is only making $0.25 gross profit on the sodas they sell. Their cost is way above the 18 to 20% the article suggests for costing of soda. With this in mind, the fast food joint’s cost is 17%, slightly below the recommended costing threshold. Don’t get me wrong I know businesses have to make money to stay in business, but I also know I don’t have to pay that much for something to drink. In the future, I won’t be ordering soda from the fast food joint. I might get a sandwich there, but I’ll go to the convenience store to get my morning caffeine fix.