McDonald’s Wants to Be Your New Starbucks

If Starbucks took fancy Euro-esque coffee options to main-street America, and Dunkin’ Donuts, with its 59 cent espresso shots and two-buck-and-change cappuccinos and macchiattos, brought them to the dollar-doughnut-loving masses, who will bring them to the Big Mac-and-fry eaters of the world?

I guess the answer to that question is kind of obvious. But the point is that McDonald’s is upping its coffee game with plans to re-launch its standalone McCafe coffee shops — complete with pastries made on premises — and higher-caliber coffee in all its outlets. The effort is set to cost $4 billion overall, Bloomberg reports, so clearly McD’s is getting serious about its coffee.

The chain rolled out a new standalone McCafe in Toronto last year, and it offers Americanos and espresso shots in McDonald’s restaurants across Canada. In October, it announced an emphasis on a more robust palette of sustainably sourced coffee drinks in its regular fast-food outlets in the United States as well. Now the chain is investing in new $12,000 espresso machines with “better milk-steaming technology” capable of creating a “wider variety” of “more consistent-tasting” coffee beverages, according to Bloomberg.

So why do we need a McDonald’s McCafe McCappucino, or whatever they’ll call it, when we already have a Starbucks on every corner and in every strip mall and hotel lobby across the land? Check your tall, skinny wallets. McDonald’s is aiming to undercut Starbucks on price — with $1 drip coffee and $2 small specialty beverages — in early 2017, the fast-food giant’s U.S. senior vice president of strategy and insights, Kristy Cunningham, told Bloomberg.

Get ‘em while they’re McHot?

Photo courtesy of @mccafecanada

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