Dear McDonald’s: Please Stop Trying to Be The New Starbucks

Matthew Loffhagen
McDonald's
(Photo: McDonald's)

Guess what? McDonald’s has a new range of retail coffee drinks available, so that you can get the joyous experience of drinking a caffeinated beverage even if you can’t right in that moment, take half an hour out of your day to enjoy it within an actual McDonald’s restaurant.

If your response to this is wondering why anyone would show so much brand loyalty to McDonald’s coffee range that they’d want to buy one even when they’re not actually in a McDonald’s, then you’re not alone.

We’ve all tolerated the McCafé brand up to this point. We get it, McDonald’s, you feel threatened by Starbucks, and you need to get some kind of kooky barista fantasy out of your system. We’re totally willing to indulge you, even though the only reason someone ever buys one of your coffees is because it’s geographically convenient and there isn’t another, better option available nearby.

After all, the McDonald’s brand does not, and very probably cannot ever, feel classy, sophisticated, and cultured.

McDonalds Frappe
Source: McDonald’s

Starbucks has done a great job of making its customers feel smart simply for sitting in one of their comfy faux-leather chairs. The best seats, we all know, are the ones by the window, so that passer-by can see you reading a high concept novel as you sip your foamy drink out of a gorgeous white mug.

Meanwhile, to actually eat in a McDonald’s feels like an admission of failure. I didn’t manage to cook and eat an actually healthy meal today, so I’m going to let a burger slide down my throat as quickly as possible on this cheap plastic seating while trying to avoid making eye contact with a statue of a clown that’s leering at me from over in the ball pit.

It’s understandable that McDonald’s would want to fix this reputation, especially considering how badly the chain has done at connecting with younger consumers over the past decade.

The solution, though, is not to become an off-brand Starbucks. It certainly isn’t to offer a range of Starbucks-style drinks that can be bought at 7-Eleven for those who for some reason don’t want a Slurpee.

Come on, McDonald’s, give up this weird obsession with trying to beat Starbucks at their own game. Your attention would be better spent trying to win back your crown as the undisputed grand high ruler of the burger industry.

You know what you need to do to make that happen. Maybe start selling Szechuan sauce if the Millennial demographic is so important to you.

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