So I received a [very prompt!] message today from a regional manager at Cosi in response to my earlier request for clarification about bagel prices:
Re: About our menu
Dear Mr. Greenblatt,
I apologize for the confusion and inconsistency you are experiencing regarding the price or our square bagels or squagels. I have researched the pricing and believe that I can offer some clarity. To answer your 4 questions: 1. Butter on a bagel is $.25. 2. Cream Cheese is a $1.00
charge. 3. The cost of a bagel with butter and a grande coffee is $3.04 ($1.79 for the coffee, $.99 for the bagel and $.25 for the butter) plus tax in the majority of our locations in the Chicago area. However, there are a few locations in Chicago that have a different price, in
those stores the price is $3.24 plus tax. This type of “tier pricing” is consistent with most national restaurant companies due to location and costs of doing business, but can be confusing to customers that visit different locations. 4. Our company invented the square bagel a little over 7 years ago in New York City. It was actually called a “Squagel” originally but customers were confused by the name. The shape is a result of our process of making the dough and makes them unique to Cosi.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find a way of making the cost equal $2.22. I have contacted all stores in the Chicago market to make sure all managers are reviewing how to enter your order (and many others) correctly.
Thank you for taking the time to bring this to our attention. It is through guest feedback like yours that we are able to continue to improve our service and meet our guests’ needs. I would like to take this time to invite you to Cosi as my guest. If you could forward me your mailing address we will send certificates for your next visit to Cosi.
Once again, thank you for your time. I hope that I was able to answer your questions. If I can be of further help please contact me directly. I look forward to your reply.
I changed the name, of course. It would be way too funny if a guy named ‘Poppy Asiago’ worked at Cosi. While I am psyched about being Poppy’s guest and the free squagelage, this reply left me with something to be desired, as I explain in my response. I still don’t understand the economics of the bagel combo:
Hi Poppy -
Thank you for your detailed and prompt response.
I guess my confusion arose from the fact that, at least from a philosophical level (and probably a cost-of-goods level as well) a buttered bagel seems like it should cost less than a cream-cheesedbagel. The $2.99+tax combo (including a bagel with cream cheese and a grande coffee) represents a 70-something cent discount off the ‘list price’ of these items, which by your metrics shouldbe $1.79 (coffee) + $.99 (bagel) + $1.00 (cream cheese) == $3.78 before tax, and I would assume that a bagel + butter + coffee combo should cost something south of that (but north of the $1.99 naked bagel + coffee combination that Cosi offers). However, I understand that the economics of combo deals can be inscrutable, and that it may not be economically feasible for Cosi to offer a comparably discounted bagel+butter combo, as it is to offer such a bargain with its higher priced (and perhaps higher profit?) cousin, cream cheese.
That being said, I certainly don’t plan on letting a measly $1.10 get in the way of my morning Squagel combo, even if I have some reservations out of principle! I’ll gladly accept your generous offer of gift certificates for my next visit at Cosi (which, in all likelihood, will be redeemed the morning after I receive them). They can be
300 N. Canal St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Thanks again for your prompt assistance, and please let me know if I can provide you with any more information.
I guess I could have been a bit more assertive about the mysterious inflation of buttered bagel — why can’t I just get a bagel+coffee combo at $1.99 and add butter for an additional quarter? This should come out to around $2.50 including tax, as opposed to the $3.30 I pay now. We’ll see what kind of response I get!