If you have called into BLK Coffee at all this week, you may have noticed that we have increased our prices slightly. And if you haven't called in, or haven't noticed, we would still like to let you know, as we have always prided ourselves on being as transparent with our customers as possible. After all, if it affects us, chances are it affects you too!
So, why the price increase, and why now? Well, its not because we're saving up for diamond-encrusted portafilter handles from Van Cleef & Arpels, so I'd like to put that rumour to rest once and for all. Nor is it our obscure way of celebrating Gerard Way's 41st birthday. (If you know, you know. If you don't...well...that's probably for the best.) There is no exciting, exotic reason for why our prices have gone up - it is simply to ensure our survival. A few of our main overheads are going up very soon, and we still want to be here to make coffee for you when they do.
The first thing, and something that was also touched upon by Mat North of Full Court Press Speciality Coffee in Bristol when discussing their recent price increase, is staff costs. As of the beginning of this month, the National Minimum Wage is being raised, and so we are raising our wages in accordance with this. For, although we already pay more than the National Minimum Wage as it stands, we feel it is only right to raise our current pay by the same amount that the minimum wage has risen by. The level of specialisation and service at BLK Coffee is such that we expect more of our staff than the average coffee shop might, and so we endeavour to pay them more than the average coffee shop would.
The next thing is - drumroll please - rent. Oh yes, rent. The overhead to end all overheads and, literally, the roof over our heads. And yours. Anyway, this June our annual rent will be subject to review for the first time since we opened, and it is unlikely that it will go anything but up. (Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes.) But we are very grateful for our location and we would never want to be anywhere else, so we're doing what we need to do, and we hope you understand.
It isn't exactly fun having to write posts like this, but to increase our prices without explaining why just wouldn't sit well with me. I know its part and parcel of running a small business, but it just wouldn't feel right. BLK Coffee would be absolutely nothing without its customers, nor without its super-dedicated staff or the little grey corner on which it is perched, and we hope to keep at it a little while longer.
Here's to keeping the show on the road,