Gaurav Kumar & Sumiran Preet Kaur
Photo: Jaishree
So you had a good time digging on the tempting brownie at Barista .Well if you had it at Khan Market, here’s a mild shock for your pocket. Rates at various Barista outlets vary. The reason is not just the difference of coffee beans, but area in which you are sipping the coffee. The ‘MR Fudgee Brownie’ is available at a price of Rs 49 in Connaught Place Barista. The same brownie costs you 65 rupees plus taxes in Khan Market Barista.

It’s not just the brownie; prices of all the items vary. Espresso Italiano starts at Rs 38 at Connaught Place while at Khan Market it is Rs 70, almost double the price. At Green Park Barista the Espresso Italiano is for Rs43. “I am addicted to drinking coffee. We usually go to Barista at CP every weekend. So I am quite familiar with the prices. But I was astonished to see that same items were available at higher prices in Khan market Barista outlet,” recalls Namrata Roy, a sales executive with VLCC(Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves).

Kumar Saurabh, Marketing Manager of Barista Coffee house, Northern Delhi says that the price variation is due to the fact that all Barista outlets have been divided into three categories. “The first is the Espresso Bar, generally for students and first jobbers, like one at Safdarjung Enclave. Next Is Espresso Bar Plus meant for target customers like professionals, management students, for example the ones in Connaught place and Vasant Vihar. The third is Barista Crème in South Ex and Khan Market for businessmen where people have corporate deals.” But why the price variation? “The price variation is of only of 4%-5% .At Barista Creme we use special coffee beans and all items ordered are prepared in front of the customer only. In other outlets the sandwiches and other eatables are pre-packed. There is a difference of quality.” On being asked why isn’t there any mention of the quality difference and categories in the menu or different outlet names, he says “We will look into the matter. We take this as a feedback,”

And it’s just not the Barista. McDonalds take away counter at Shivaji Stadium, Connaught Place sells a fountain Coke for Rs 9. On condition of anonymity the employee at the counter said that the quantity that is sold at this price is half of the quantity sold at the standard price inside McDonalds.

For a Delhi based lawyer Dr Manjula Batra this is an unfair trade practice. “Price variation between the outlets is a complete discrimination. It is a market driven policy and cheating the consumers. Even if it is a legal practice, the onus of informing people about this difference lies with the company.” Many agree to the fact that a reputed company should always inform the customers. According to Sharon Arora, an MBA student , “I often have a cup of coffee at these joints. I was never aware of this change in prices according to the area. They should inform. We expect such a sense of responsibility from a brand”

But for some price hardly matters. For Sourav Mandal, a law student, such coffee joints are the “it” places. “Where else do you get coffees like these? The crowd is good. So is the food. Many foreigners prefer to go to such places. Youngsters also like the ambience. We can play the guitar, play scrabble and chill out. Many choose to go to such places for their dates.” Truly said, “ a lot can happen over a cup of coffee”. However, this coffee comes for a good price depending upon the location.