AirTalk for January 30, 2014

Coffee Wars: McDonald’s focuses on coffee; our listeners weigh in

First McCafe Opens In Northern California

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Samantha Vang steams milk for a coffee drink at the opening of a new McCafe coffeehouse December 3, 2003 in Mountain View, California.

The future of fast food may be coffee.

According to reports from researcher IBISWorld Inc., coffee and snack sales are on track to outpace fast food sales in 2014 and 2015.

McDonald’s is refocusing their efforts on coffee to keep pace with the market — in their goals for 2014-2016 boosting “coffee driven visits” is a top priority. McDonald’s McCafe drip coffee is already a draw for people looking for a fast, affordable caffeine fix, and the chain’s seasonal flavored coffees, modeled on Starbucks options, have been successful.

But is there a market for a fast food latte? Some of our listeners seem to think so, with many favoring McDonald's coffee over Starbucks. Here's what they had to say: 


"I think Starbucks is terrible. I would take McDonald's over Starbucks any day. Starbucks is bitter and icky."

—Nikki in North Hollywood 

"I love McDonald's coffee. I go to Starbucks when I want to hang out. If I want good coffee, I go to McDonald's."

—Lydia in Pasadena

"McDonald's coffee tastes very artificial and chemically. Starbucks coffee is not great — it's very bitter, that's their style and it's very un-fresh but it's much better than McDonald's."

—Brian in Westminster

"I would go against both of them: Starbucks and McDonald's — Starbucks for being too expensive; McDonald's for being low quality. I would rather support the local coffee shops, the mom and pop in the neighborhood."

— Kevin in Burbank 

"My wife and I have been to McCafes in Russia and in many European countries. And in those countries, McCafe is a separate, off-to-the-side, real cafe. They have nice tables; they have nice chairs; they serve fine pastries; they make your cup of coffee separately in a china cup and saucer."

— David in San Pedro
 

How can McDonald’s and other brands adapt their menus to draw in more customers? Let us know in comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Guests: 

Sam Oches, editor of the fast food industry publication QSR Magazine

Sasha Strauss, Founder of Innovation Protocol, a branding consultancy firm


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