business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reported yesterday that McDonald’s plans to launch a “frontal assault” on Starbucks and “turn itself into a Starbucks-style destination for customers looking for something to drink,” offering lattes, cappuccinos and other specialty drinks at all of its 14,000 restaurants in the US.

My comment: This could make sense, though I cannot imagine under any circumstances choosing McDonald’s over Starbucks, no matter how Mickey D’s prices its coffees. That’s just me, though I suspect that a lot of people would agree.

Lots of reaction to this one…

MNB user Denielle Christensen wrote:

Here's a perfect example of why McDonald's is bound to struggle with their coffee campaign. I was chatting by email with a co-worker about your newsletter today (the original topic of conversation was the commissary article), but after mentioning lattes our conversation went like this:

Me: So, will you be getting your lattes at McDonalds?

Her: Um, no. They don't offer pumpkin spice with the most amazing whip cream ever. Something to be said about quality.

Me: Maybe they WILL offer those things, but hell, I'm not willing to risk 400 calories on a McDonald's latte instead of Starbucks!

So McDonald's is already at a disadvantage because their brand does not imply the same level of quality products. Good luck to them, but here you have two Starbucks drinkers that won't be switching over.

Thanks for the great daily news, it inspires some great office discussions.

Thank you…and between us, we actually have three Starbucks drinkers who won’t be switching.

MNB user Joe Fraioli wrote:

Don’t make me laugh so early in the morning or worse spit out a sip of my Starbucks coffee. This is just as amusing if not more amusing than Dunkin Donuts declaring the same thing a while back, at least the Dunkin coffee blend is good but that’s where the thing ends. McDonalds is an amazing business that constantly tries to reinvent itself however to me it is like them stating they now have a steak sandwich so they are going to compete against Ruth Chris steak house.

That’s a great metaphor.

Now, to be fair, not everyone feels that way. We did get one email from an MNB user that said:

Personally, I like Mickey D's coffee better than Starbucks.

But the email that really made me laugh out loud was the one that observed

Now we know where to get 10,000 espresso machines in about two years.

We’ve had some ongoing discussion here about my rant last week about wine advertising that I felt insulted people who know something about wine or want to, and I suggested that “this is a particularly American attitude, I think - it casts suspicion on people who are educated or want to be, it belittles nuance…”

A number of you thought that I was just being a defensive wine snob, which I don't think is true – my comments had more to with advertising and attitudes than with wine. And MNB user Frederic Arnal joined in:

Your comment is unfortunately all too true. Part of our educational malaise is the comparatively low esteem in which we hold our teachers and successful students. Other countries revere teachers and are as proud (if not more so) of their students' achievements as their athletes. It's a mystery to me why we consider the intellectually curious or sensitive to be "European" and the non-articulate to be more "American".

Your MNB user who disparagingly called wine "decayed fruit" betrays a certain bias of their own. Knowledge of wine may or may not correlate to intelligence but it certainly points to being intellectually curious. Wine is not only fermented grapes but has been an important part of human culture from the beginning of civilization. To be interested in the world around us and trying to bring a little civility to our everyday activities makes the difference between existing and living.

Couldn’t agree more.
KC's View: