COMPETITIVE WATCH

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

COMPETITIVE WATCH

11/14/2007
OAK BROOK, Ill. -- In a meeting with analysts earlier this week, McDonald's Corp. announced plans to perk up its beverage and breakfast offerings by adding upscale coffee drinks, sweetened iced tea, smoothies, breakfast burritos and chicken biscuit sandwiches to its U.S. restaurants in the coming weeks, The Associated Press reported.

The addition of espresso coffee drinks, which are now being tested in more than 800 stores, will begin next year and give McDonald's an important foothold into the lucrative $12 billion specialty beverage market. The rollout likely will last through 2009.

Following the success of its breakfast menu and drip coffee, observers have expected the world's largest fast-food company to dive into the fast-growing coffee business as a way to attract new customers to the chain, according to the AP report.

McDonald's will add sweet tea, frappes, smoothies and bottled beverages to its U.S. stores as well. "We want to move from beverages as an accompaniment to a beverage destination," Don Thompson, president of McDonald's USA, said during the meeting at the company's headquarters. "We believe the quality of the offerings will rival the best of class."

In just two weeks, McDonald's will begin selling a sausage skillet burrito to breakfast customers. A Southern-style chicken biscuit will launch next year, the report stated.

The chain also told analysts it will continue to pare down its number of company-owned restaurants, with plans to refranchise between 1,000 and 1,500 stores to local owners during the next three years. About 70 percent of McDonald's 30,000 restaurants already are owned by franchisees. However, executives said they have no plans to cede ownership of all stores to franchise owners, the AP reported.