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Can the McCafe Take On Starbucks?

This Fall, your local McDonald's is going to experience the biggest change in 30 years: baristas. That's right, according to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald's locations nationwide will install coffee bars that serve up cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, and frappes. They will be located at the front, near the registers, and customers can watch their drinks being made; a big departure from the rest of the food prep. In addition to coffee, there is also talk of smoothies and bottled beverages.

Interestingly enough, the McCafe — as it's being branded — has already taken off worldwide, but I wonder how they'll do here. I'm curious to see what happens. As the article states, there's been a bit of a learning curve; not all McD's patrons know what a latte is. However I'm sure once their customers figure it out, they'll be ordering them in no time. What do you think? Is the McCafe a threat to Starbucks?

To check out a video of the espresso machines at work in the test McDonald's in Kansas,



Join The Conversation
elmo8 elmo8 9 years
We've had these for years in Sydney in Australia and it's just part of McDonald's now. It's really popular especially during the day for young Mums as they get to sit in the cafe part and catch up while the kids play on the playground at McDonalds. We even have a new Espresso to go drive through option now so you can get a coffee drive through which I found really handy to get a coffee to drink while driving to Uni. They were introduced here because coffee is huge in Australia and especially Sydney with a massive Italian population. It hasn't totally taken over as we can get good Itlaian coffee cheap anywhere in Sydney but they have been popular. We have Starbucks too (but nowhere near like the US) and it's been a popular option.
julko julko 9 years
I bet McCafe will be very successful. I agree with a lot of you that Starbucks has gone downhill and its appeal is no longer there. I prefer to drink from local cafes unless there is no other choice. It would be great if McCafe kept on the Newman's Organics line, cause that stuff is better than Starbucks brew. But please, no more fakeacchinos from automachines.
Schlem33 Schlem33 9 years
Some of the McDonald's in Europe already have these and I personally thought it was great! It's definitely cheaper, as everyone has already mentioned, so that's a great start! I think one in Chicago might have the McCafe as well, if I remember correctly. Hopefully it'll work out. It's sad to see all of the local coffee shops shutting down because of starbucks! It'd be nice to go somewhere use the internet for free if you only need for 30 minutes or so and enjoy a decently priced cup of coffee.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
McDonald's coffee varies from place to place. It's fine in Vancouver, but it's pure crap in Hong Kong. Never get McD's coffee in Hong Kong. It's so bad it'll make you sick. It's a cup of brown crap with a weird questionable film (grease?) on the top.
lil-miss-haley lil-miss-haley 9 years
My gosh america doesnt have mcafe?? We have many, and the coffees are actully really great!!
Carri Carri 9 years
I don't eat at McDonalds, so I doubt I'll go there for a cup of coffee. I've cut down on the Starbucks, too, because it just doesn't have the same "feel" it used to have. My husband and I used to go there for dates (when we were dating, lol) and spend a couple hours there reading, talking, people watching... but I think Starbucks is more of a grab and run kind of place now.
Mokona Mokona 9 years
They are so much cheaper... but every McCafe item I've tried tastes horrible!
4BYRDS 4BYRDS 9 years
I don't like the iced coffee that McDonalds has had lately so I am not that hopefully in the coffee shop idea.
kathleenjoy kathleenjoy 9 years
snowbunny it's not about what seems the coolest to me - it's just about appreciation for "real" coffee. I didn't mean to offend anyone, but "American style brews" aren't real coffee! I also choose to support local, independent cafes rather than multinational chains for economic, environmental and political reasons. I just don't believe coffee should be adulterated with the myriad of options that chains like Starbucks offer. My coffee doesn't need to have cream, syrups, chai (though I love, again, REAL chai tea!!!) etc. I am not a coffee snob by any means, but the pollution of McDonalds and Starbucks on our economy and the Americanisation of our social landscape (I am from Australia and we already have McCafes) is not something I could ever support. An actual coffee snob would laugh at anyone who said they get their coffee from Dunkin Donuts ... but I am not laughing at you, just sad!!
starkiss23 starkiss23 9 years
I'm all over Starbuck's.
louisquatorze louisquatorze 9 years
They had one of these in the Hauptbanhof in Berlin and I took a picture to show people at home, I found it so amusing. Good for the early-morning train to Munich, though.
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 9 years
If it's good I will go for it! I love Starbucks but can't spend that much money all the time. My fave is the Chai Latte with Soy, so I hope they go beyond coffee and plain milk. There are a lot of other places that serve coffee but few that have as many choices as Starbucks.
pinkdragonfly pinkdragonfly 9 years
Starbucks has a pretty loyal legion of devotees...most of whom I doubt would be caught dead buying a McCappuccino (haha just wanted to say that) so I really don't think it will cause too much competition between the two. However, I suppose that perhaps a few McDonalds frequenters might choose to add a McMocha or McSmoothie (and an additional plethora of calories) to their Big Mac.
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
I try to avoid Starbucks and other chain coffee places (including the McCafe), just because it's never as good as a local place...I have a great drive-thru place on my way to work, and if I'm going to get coffee it will be, I'd rather support a small, local business than a national corporation.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Hmm, I'm a little divided, McDonald's normal iced coffee serioulsy made me die a little inside when I tried it, so McCafe would have to be a lot better than that. I love Dunkin Donuts coffee but we don't have it in LA! :( Chai Lattes are my frothy drink, and if they made it well then I would get it, Starbucks IS inconsistent. As far as those preferring French and Italian brews...don't forget that some of us prefer American-style coffee, which is why I love's not all about what seems the coolest, people actually just have different tastes, it's not about "knowing what real coffee is."
rocksister rocksister 9 years
Hmmmm, I would go if they had sugar-free syrups to put in the lattes like Starbucks does.
fruitcakesucks fruitcakesucks 9 years
I'm all for being thrifty but there is a reason McCafe is cheaper, and that reason is minimum wage, and low quality coffee beans, and not providing their employees with benefits.
kathleenjoy kathleenjoy 9 years
McDonald's ... Starbucks ... I wouldn't call any of it real coffee and I don't think people who drink coffee there actually know what real coffee is ... I'd much rather support my neighbourhood French and Italian cafes, than some multinational serving up crap.
susanec susanec 9 years
I wouldn't go there seeing as how I don't go now. Not much for Starbucks either, I prefer local places who carry organic milk (fresh milk, not the boxed kind) on the rare day when I do get something other than plain coffee.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
Starbucks is good for a tasty, frothy latte, but McDonald's coffee is loads better. I like my coffee strong, but Starbucks tastes burnt- yuck! I look forward to seeing these pop up around the neighborhood!
emalove emalove 9 years
I wouldn't choose this over Starbucks...
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 9 years
I love my Starbucks inside my grocery store, wouldn't make a special trip for a McCafe.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 9 years
I'm a huge Starbucks fan, but if its good and the price stays cheaper I would defintely give it a shot.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
I'm not a Starbucks fan at all; their coffee is too strong, too burned for my taste. The WSJ article is a good read.
Mmmarshmallow Mmmarshmallow 9 years
All I know is McCafe don't burn the coffee. I think their coffee tastes MILES better than anything that Starbucks offers. Can McCafe take on Starbucks? I hope they do!
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