McDonald’s Tries Again To Make McCafe Competitive With Starbucks, Dunkin’

Image courtesy of Michael Kappel

Just like better burger joints have nibbled away at McDonald’s sandwich business, competitors with a wider variety of coffee options are attracting the caffeine-seeking consumers away from the Golden Arches. Now the fast food giant wants to re-establish its coffee bona fides, investing in equipment to help stores compete with the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

While Americans know McCafé as the brand on their brewed coffee or the occasional pumpkin spice latte, it’s a fancier line and even a standalone higher-end café in international markets. The Hong Kong branch teamed up with hazelnut confectioner Ferrero to make hazelnut-themed coffee beverages and confections a few years ago, for example. In Australia, the company used the McCafé brand on an experimental restaurant marketing healthier fare, calling it “The Corner by McCafé.”

That’s probably bad news to franchisees, who would like to do away with the whole McCafé line to simplify processes behind the counter. Instead, according to Bloomberg, what they’ll be getting are upgraded McCafé machines that make a wider variety of fancy beverages from the McCafé menu and cost $12,000.

That will only be good news to franchisees if the new machines are the product that was tested in Chicago earlier this year, which allows customers to press a button and make their own mochas and lattes.

Espresso-based beverages have a higher markup, which is why fast food eateries push them. McDonald’s wants to sell more of them, and plans to increase its offerings of seasonal beverages, along with a better coffee rewards program.

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