Standalone McCafe’s Show Real Potential, Will It Beat Starbucks?

Dec 11, 2015 11:22 AM EST | By Althea Serad


In a strategic attempt to "build on its reputation as a leading coffee brand," McDonald's has launched its first standalone coffee shops in Canada.

The McCafé in Canada has recently opened, according to CBC News, and as noted by Grub Street, it could now blur the line further between McDonald's and Starbucks.

In recent years, McDonald's has expanded its menu items and introduced new, healthier options to accommodate new consumers' wants and loss of appetite for usual fast food burgers and fries. Among the healthier options are salads and wraps in Canada, and in the U.S., the now famous all-day breakfast is available.

According to a previous report by Grub Street, Starbucks has also created a breakfast sandwich much like a menu item from McDonald's all-day breakfast.

The first ever standalone McCafé opened Wednesday at the Union Station in Toronto. In January, a second standalone McCafé will reportedly open in a nearby office tower.

Among the menu items in the standalone McCafés are of course, specialty javas like the Oreo McFlurry-esque affogato, baked goods, fruit smoothies and the Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich, which will be available all day. In fact the café needed to invent a whole new line of pastries including croissants, cheese danishes and a Mini Chocolatine

Clearly customers have become taciturn each time McDonald's launches new "experiences," the standalone McCafe's could actually have a chance since, according to The Hamilton Spectator, the country spends billions on coffee per year.

In addition, the public will appreciate a caffeine-delivery option in the mornings. Franchisees could welcome the new "experience" warmly too because it had been difficult for them to run a mini coffee shop at the corner of a restaurant's counter, according to The Wall Street Journal.

John Betts, McDonald's Canada CEO, said the two new standalone McCafé are simply a pilot project to find out if the model has potential.

"Our customers have been asking for a bit more of a café experience, and they want more access to the product, which means more locations," he said.

He added that McDonald's shares increased significantly since the 2011 McCafé products were introduced.

It remains to be seen how the public would respond to the new Standalone McCafe's and if it would actually become successful for Golden Arches' sales, but there is a high possibility.

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