Thursday, July 1, 2010

Can McDonald's Be Good At Coffee? I think Not!

I was reading an article in AdvertisingAge this morning about McDonald's strides in the beverage market (specifically coffee) and it got me thinking. Can McDonald's, the old tried and true fast food junk giant, be good at coffee too? Then I thought to myself...not likely. Want to know why I think this? Experience!

I actually stopped out of convenience (or stupidity) at McDonald's about two weeks ago and ordered a quick dinner for my daughter and an iced coffee for me. You see I was on my way to a group workout and didn't want to be late and craved the extra energy of an iced coffee on that 90 degree day. Yuck! Just the thought of the coffee makes me regret the decision of not running into Starbucks or hitting a Dunkin on the way. I'm sorry McDonald's but you cannot do coffee like the companies that specialize in coffee. Stick to burgers, chicken nuggets and fries.

Now I realize that some people will like McDonald's coffee and that's okay. I am just not one of them. There is absolutely no way you can be a Starbuck's loyalist and also go to McDonald's for coffee thinking it is just as good. Dunkin, Carobou and any other speciality shop in my opinion is also hands above the wannabe-gourmet coffee they serve at McDonald's.

Now my final point for McDonald's is this: you can't be good at everything. Basic branding principles say you should focus on what you do best. Here's an idea...give up on coffee and become a fast food innovator by adding a decent veggie burger to your menu! It is a product that fits into your overall offering and would help you attract more health-conscious consumers.


  1. I think 98% of Americans that drink McDonalds coffee do it for a couple of reasons.

    1) Starbucks is pricey and they are saving money.
    2) It is easy to get in and out of and more of them.
    3) You don't have a bunch of douchebags in there with their laptops and blackberrys looking down on everyone thinking their stuff doesn't stink.
    4) The senior discount is pretty good, coffee for @$.65 is great. The older blue collar generation does not know Starbucks.
    5) And my favorite, WTF is a Venti ? Give me small, medium and large. I do not live it Italy.

    Visit the Starbucks in Hudson and the one in Cuyahoga Falls and see the difference. AMAZING !!!

    ** But personally I kill my coffee with enough cream and sugar I could not tell the difference ... I do see you point though. Plus I don't think Mickey D's could make a veggie burger as cheap then their "hamburgers".

    Cheers! Mark

  2. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing! Interesting points.