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!
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?
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 Japan Today)