Iced Coffee Puts Cafes in the Black, With Help From Mila Kunis

Summer brings ice cubes with our Starbucks, and ice cubes bring higher profit margins

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Mila Kunis's sexy pose on the cover of GQ has food writers salivating. Grub Street took notice, as did Bon Appetit, and The Observer drank deeply of the Terry Richardson cover shot, calling it "seasonal without being corny... less pedophilic and less phallic than an ice cream cone, but still a little bit phallic." GQ's fashion director told Bon Appetit the photo "happened naturally," saying Richardson "liked the way Mila was sucking her straw. She just had a naughty look in her eye that we loved."

You know who else is probably salivating over the cover? Coffee shop owners. Or at least they should be. Iced coffee is the secret weapon of the coffee shop world. When summer rolls around and the smothering heat just won't let you drink it hot, your switch to the clear plastic cup half-filled with frozen water means money in the pocket of your local Starbucks (or non-commercial, organic, fair-trade brewer). In fact, marketing material we found puts iced coffee profit margins at around 77 percent. Check out this Starbucks "Iced In-Line Solutions" guide from Aramark:

Starbucks' Yahoo Finance page puts the company's overall profit margin at 9.79 percent, which indicates that iced drinks make up an outsize portion of its income. Last year, our own John Hudson asked readers what they thought about ordering drinks with no ice. Most of the 20 comments leaned toward the "ice is a rip-off" side if the conversation. Whatever you think of the fairness of the practice, it would appear from the numbers that cafes do see a solid benefit from the addition of ice. And it can't hurt to have a hot movie star mouthing your product on a Terry Richardson-shot magazine cover, either.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.