The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that McDonald’s is set to roll out its McCafe program at stores nationwide. What, you might ask, is McCafe? Eh, it’s basically a Starbucks located in a McDonald’s. The drinks at the McCafes will go for 60-80 cents cheaper than comparable beverages at Starbucks. The McCafes will offer cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas. Confusingly, they will also offer a Frappe, which will, essentially, be a knockoff Frappuccino. First of all, isn’t that sort of a copyright infringement case just waiting to happen? Secondly, that will be very puzzling in Massachusetts stores, no?
The McCafe is McDonald’s first major menu innovation since the company introduced breakfast over thirty years ago. In addition to the McCafe, McDonald’s will also be introducing smoothies, bottled drinks, and, most excitingly, free flavor shots for sodas (we haven’t set foot in a McDonald’s since 2001 and we really try to limit our soft drink consumption, but that still sounds pretty awesome).
Aside from our political objections to McDonald’s, there’s a simple reason we won’t be frequenting the McCafes. If you’re at all familiar with how a Micky Dee’s kitchen operates, you probably know that cooks at McDonald’s don’t really do any actual cooking. Everything is pre-prepared to absolutely minimize the potential for human error and standardize operations across all stores. From the looks of things in the (incredibly poorly narrated) video below, it seems that the McCafes will be operated in the same way. We could be wrong, but it seems to us that instead of the large espresso machine one sees at Starbucks, the McCafe machine looks small and like “baristas” needn’t do much more than press different buttons for different drinks. The McCafe product doesn’t look much better than the “cappuccino” one might get from a hospital vending machine.
What about you? Will you try the McCafe or stick to Starbucks, Dunkie’s or local coffee shops?
McDonald’s Takes On a Weakened Starbucks [Wall Street Journal]