McDonald's to offer premium, pricier cups of coffee


Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at 8:21 p.m.
OAK BROOK, Ill. - A cup of coffee at McDonald's is about to get stronger - and more expensive.
The fast-food chain plans to offer premium roast coffee in all 13,700 of its U.S. restaurants next week, hoping to provide an extra boost to breakfast sales as well as caffeine-loving customers.
Some of its outlets already have the new coffee available and the full nationwide rollout is set for Monday, McDonald's Corp. spokesman Bill Whitman said Tuesday.
The new product, roasted in California, has been in the works for a long time and takes the world's largest restaurant chain into a premium category already occupied by many of its competitors for consumers' breakfast dollars.
The suggested retail price for a 12-ounce cup - about $1.20 before taxes - will make it about 10 cents more expensive than Burger King's similar-sized premium coffee, 9 cents less than Dunkin' Donuts' and 30 cents less than a small cup of coffee at Starbucks, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The objective is to increase both coffee and breakfast sales," said Mike Roberts, McDonald's president and chief operating officer. "Premium coffee and specialty coffee are a really important part of the American breakfast experience."
The company also is testing specialty coffees such as lattes, espressos or frappucinnos at 50 other restaurants, Roberts said.
A pricier cup of java continues McDonald's strategy of not only strengthening its breakfast menu, which added the popular McGriddles in 2003, but also adding higher-priced items to increase the average amount spent by customers. The introduction of salads and Chicken Selects other sandwiches at premium prices has helped sales surge the past three years.
and a new Asian salad due out in U.S. McDonald's this spring will further the price trend.
Last year, company revenues rose 7 percent worldwide to $20.5 billion, with the U.S. market the key contributor to the gain.
McDonald's shares fell 18 cents to $35.07 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, up 6 percent from a year ago.
--- On the Net: www.mcdonalds.com

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