Specialty Coffee

Why Coffee?  Of all specialty items that McDonald's sells why focus on the java?  They introduced a line of salads to give consumers a healthier option.  But if I spoke about coffee I would undoubtedly need to speak on those little bite sized yogurt parfaits.  Is it just me, or do they seem to get smaller annually?  But anyways, which fast food chain hasn't introduced salads?  I believe they all have.  Coffee is not such a universal menu item.  Well, Lattes are not a universal menu item.  No other chain, to my knowledge, has gone after a coffee market segment.  McDonald's is not going after people who just need a daily fix, but rather they are going after coffee "snobs" and younger folks who assume "coffee"can still be called  coffee even if no beans were harmed in its production, ie. the Frappuccino drinkers of the world.  It is this McCafe idea that sets McDonald's on a path of alternate menu items very different from its other fast food competitors.  I would encourage you to watch the humorous commercial, and also the short news clip linked at the bottom of the page. 

On a purely personal note, it amazes me that as the economy seems to crash McDonald's introduced a coffee line at the same time Starbucks launched a line of breakfast sandwiches. Clearly this commercial is a critique of the stereotypical coffee shop crowd. McDonald's is trying to expand their market, now of course this isn’t out of selfish motives, but rather to give all you non hipsters a place to hang and drink “good” coffee. (I’ll let you judge the quality.) Perhaps it is more than anything, the ability to adapt to new ideas, and markets that has allowed McDonald's to flourish not only in this country, but across the globe. In the early years of McDonald's, I would personally argue that Americans wouldn’t know a latte if it bit them. Coffee was consumed as a simple beverage to compliment your cigarettes, and drag you into your day. To a large degree this can be seen in the older generations at McDonald's every morning. They go in, and get their sandwich and black coffee. For them this is more than all right, but the younger Generations don’t seem to like coffee as much as adults. We have grown up in the espresso generation where coffee is loaded with milk and sugar. Anything else is unacceptable. Some company was going to be raking in our hard earned cash, and it might as well be McDonald's, after all they had been with us since childhood with their play places and happy meals. 

This is too good to pass up putting on the web.  For good or for ill, Americans have thus far been addicted to Starbucks for their daily buzz, and this news segment does an excellent job illuminating the changing market.  On any given day we see many people carrying around various hot and cold cups, and surprisingly it seems that McDonald's may give the coffee giant a run for their money.  In short, even if we don’t see mom and pop shop cups, we may see a greater diversity of corporate logos on coffee cups through our day.

"ABC Nightline on McDonald's, Starbucks Coffee Wars".  Youtube. March 22, 2007.  Accessed April 6, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oOqM98Ga34&NR=1

It seems that especially in Boulder, McDonalds has a stigma for being low quality food and fairly unhealthy.  As we all know (or should know) the truth behind Frappucinos and Lates in general would you be willing to give McCafe a try?  If you have was it woth it?