Dunkin’ to Hike Prices

Dunkin’ Brands announced Monday that it would have to raise its prices, primarily on the food items listed on the Dunkin’ Donuts menu, to compensate for a shortage of coffee.

Why, you may ask, will you have to a pay more to obtain a measly dose of caffeine? It’s almost too much to handle before you’ve had your morning coffee.

We can blame it on a pesky fungus called coffee rust, which has devoured coffee harvests throughout Central America this year. The fungus was triggered by the bizarrely wet weather that has swept over the region.

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At the same time, the droughts ravaging Brazil have worked to extinguish the supply of coffee beans flowing from South America.

The confluence of those two factors have driven the price of coffee up for American companies.

Although franchisees determine the pricing at individual locations, a Dunkin’ spokesperson told us that she expected some increases to take effect by the beginning of next year.

The increase may fall primarily on food items, such as breakfast sandwiches and donuts.

The Huffington Post speculated that the company may be hesitant to raise its coffee prices because it hopes to maintain its competitive edge against Starbucks, which has begun to encroach increasingly into the New England market traditionally dominated by Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ also has plans to expand west, bringing the company in more direct competition with its Seattle-based adversary.

Starbucks announced a few months back that it would refrain from upping its coffee prices.

Update : A Dunkin’ spokeswoman clarified her comments regarding when the company would raise its prices. The story originally said that Dunkin’ Donuts “expects widespread price hikes soon,” as was reported by the Huffington Post.