Informing customers before a price increase

Just on a week ago, the prices of all our drinks and food went up 5%.  We also did something that I don’t think any other cafes do – we told our customers about it well before it happened.

We picked the 1st August as a good time for the increase. In early July, we sent out an email to 800 of our loyalty system customers, advising them of the prices going up.

This is a very rare event.  Our food prices last went up three years ago.  Coffees haven’t changed since we opened (seven years ago).

Why tell our customers about this? We’ve always kept them in the loop because I think it’s good to be honest and transparent with your customers, and they will be loyal because of this.

Part of me dreads a price increase as I envisage having all our customers complain, and a mass exodus of them who never return. What happens is most ignore the fact, and the few that do mention it tell us how they appreciate being told, and their future custom with us doesn’t really change at all.

The reality of price increases is they need to be done regularly as our overheads don’t get cheaper, they only gets more expensive.  If we want to make a decent return from the café, our pricing to our customers needs to increase as well.

We (businesses) need to stop treating customers as just an income stream, and bring them closer into the feedback loop.  We really have nothing to lose.