Coffee Clash - Look Out Starbucks, Here Comes McCafé!

Grounds for a coffee war?Grounds for a coffee war?


You'd think that Starbucks, the too cool for school home of Double Vente Whatchamaccinos, has very little in common with fast food flogger McDonalds. When it comes to coffee, McD's claim to fame (or infamy) has been that multi-million lawsuit filed over a scalding hot McJava. No longer - McCafé is here to save the day!

Clean & classy... and not a clown in sight!Clean & classy... and not a clown in sight!


Well, not exactly "here"... just a couple hundred of the world's 1,300 McCafé's are in the USA with the rest concentrated in Australia, New Zealand and since last summer, Japan. The Anzacs love 'em - a decade after McDonalds launched the brand in Melbourne in 1993, the upscale chain became the largest coffee shop brand in both AU and NZ.

Japan may follow suit - check out this line-up of nearly 1,200 people waiting to get into the newly opened McCafé in Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo! Those at the front of the line were standing for up to 2 hours before the doors swung open.

Japanese McCafés will retain the quaint coffee shop atmosphere refined down under and will offer customers healthy soups and sandwiches along with the usual slate of coffees, lattes & 'ccinos. Prices are generally cheaper than rival Starbucks with drip coffee and espresso starting at 170 yen (about $1.60) a cuppa. This has got to be a thorn in the side of the Seattle giant, coming off a troubling year with reduced profits and increased criticism of their business model.

Are they sleepless in Seattle?Are they sleepless in Seattle?


Is this an opportunity McDonalds should be exploiting? Perhaps - though in the US, the burger behemoth has to fight a half-century of ingrained public perceptions in addition to a down but far from out Starbucks. Overseas things are a little different - at McCafé, the coffee's hot but it's the competition who's getting burnt! (via The Japan Times)

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Apr 29, 2008
by Anonymous

McCafe view from a New Zealander...

I'm totally amazed that 10 years later this is a new concept in the US?!

To add to this story - in NZ, the McCafe is now also available as a drive through experience, which is certainly a leg up on Starbucks.

As a New Zealander i can tell you the McCafe experience is largely... mediocre. Sure they have location - as over the past 10 years nearly every McD's also has a McCafe area, however it suffers from two things.

1) The atmosphere is still a fast food restaurant. Sitting in a messy open space surrounded by children, happy meals, fries on the floor is not really ideal for enjoying a nice cafe experience. - but it will do in a pinch when you need a real coffee. (not that filtered black water served in a bottomless cup so common through out the USA ;-)

2) The McCafe staff are not professionally trained baristas... they are still low paid teenagers who have been through a "McDonalds McCafe McTraining" course.
Unfortunately 75% of the time the coffee burnt, or just badly made. As with anything else McDonalds - it's not about quality, it's about volume and sales.

To be honest, McCafe and StarBucks don't compete as they are at different end's of the scale, both in price and experience.

However in New Zealand, if you really like coffee you'll avoid either and go to one of the hundreds of cafes that craft and hand roast their own special gourmet coffee blends. Come try it! :)

Jul 30, 2008
by Anonymous

McCafe experience. July 30h 2008

Got to agree with this comment and add a 3 and 4.
Since McDonalds incorporated the McCafe into the general burger bar it has deteriorated in quality and staffing.

The service is slow and on occasions rude.

The Pakuranga McCafe is not even open at present due to 'unforeseen circumstances'.
I'm off to Starbucks