Friday, July 10, 2009

Free Mocha Mondays at McDonald's McCafe

As McDonald's continues to try and take away customers from Starbucks with their McCafe concept, they've now introduced Free Mocha Mondays.

On Mondays from July 13 through August 3, 2009 (that's 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, and 8/3) between 7am and 7pm you can get a free sample (7 oz. cold or 8 oz hot) Mocha.

The McCafe Mocha is "the sweetheart of the coffe drinks:  freshly ground espresso beans coupled with steamed milk (whole or nonfat), indulgent chocolate syrup, and capped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle."

Since we're on the topic and haven't done so yet, here's a look at the complete nutritional data for a few McCafe drinks:

As you can see the Medium Caramel Latte packs 280 calories and 8 grams of fat:

The Medium Iced Mocha has 310 calories and 13 grams of fat:

And the McCafe calorie champ (and granted, it is a large) is the large Mocha, coming in at 400 calories, 14 grams of fat (and even a half gram of Trans Fat) and 49 grams of sugar:

By way of comparison, here are some of Starbuck's highest calorie drinks.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Panera to Celebrate Breakfast (Free Samples!)

On Wednesday, January 28, Panera Bread locations will be presenting their new "breakfast experience" to customers with free cups of their new Light and Dark Roast coffees and free samples of their grilled breakfast sandwiches and new Strawbery Granola Parfait.

Panera will also be inviting customers to donate a dollar on Wednesday to help support their Operation Dough-Nation Community Breadbox program.  In 2007 Panera donated a retail value of over $40 million worth of bread and baked goods to charitable organizations through this program.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved at breakfast at Panera,” said Ronald Shaich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panera Bread. “We’re looking forward to celebrating breakfast with our customers and joining them in supporting our local communities.”
Panera Bread has been working for more than two years to perfect its two unique new coffee blends — a Light Roast and a Dark Roast. The Light Roast Coffee is a new blend of some of the finest South and Central American beans, roasted lighter for a smooth, classic taste. The Dark Roast Coffee is a new blend of top Costa Rican beans, created for customers who prefer a robust, balanced, full-bodied coffee. All Panera Bread bakery-cafes will continue to carry its current Hazelnut and Decaffeinated coffee blends, as well as a selection of specialty Espresso and Espresso-based drinks expertly prepared by trained baristas.

By the way, Panera's Strawberry Granola Parfait (that they'll be giving free samples of on Wednesday) has 310 calories, 110 calories from fat, and 12 grams of fat.  The full nutritional information is below.  They use Stonyfield Farm organic low-fat vanilla yogurt.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

McDonald's Still After Starbucks Customers

McDonald's is showing some serious stamina in their quest to take some (or much, or all) of Starbucks business.

Their campaign started in April of 2005 when they announced their new specialty coffee drinks. Since then their coffee outranked Starbucks in a Consumer Reports survey and they've come up with some interesting coffee product placement on TV news among other things.

Then, earlier this year, Starbucks announced the closing of 600+ of their stores and some say McDonald's attempt to become a morning 'beverage destination' was at least a little part of the problem for Starbucks.

And now this:

Wow, McDonald's isn't letting up and they're going after Starbucks head-on now.

Another billboard (also appearing in the Seattle area, Starbucks home turf) reads "large is the new grande."

This ad tactic really takes advantage of the tough economic times, too. Some people are starting to realize that cutting the $4+ coffee from their daily routine can really save them some money ($1,460 per year).

Dunkin' Donuts has also been pointing this out and has certainly done some damage to Starbucks business, too, with their "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" campaign and their independent study showing that folks prefer Dunkin' Donuts coffee over Starbucks.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts Has Holiday Items

If you've been in any store since Halloween (heck, even before Halloween) you've certainly noticed that the "Holidays" are here. You may not being thinking too much about your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Break plans yet, but retailers absolutely are!

And in our little fast food world, the "Holiday" items are rolling in! So far, Jack in the Box and Chick-fil-a have special Holiday shakes.

But shakes don't fulfill our Holiday cravings in the morning.... Dunkin' Donuts to the rescue!

Dunkin' Donuts has a bunch of things for us, including seasonal menu items, gifts and special deals.

Dunkin's ever-expanding and highly acclaimed coffee offerings adds the Mocha Spice Latte (shown above, over some Holiday Munchkins). The Mocha Spice Latte combines cinnamon and French Vanilla flavors topped with a swirl of Mocha Swirl syrup and the traditional recipe of fresh espresso, steaming milk and whipped cream. (And for those of you spending the winter months in warmer climates the Mocha Spice Latte is available iced, too.)

As mentioned and shown above, Dunkin' Donuts and Munchkins are available now with festive holiday-themed decorations and icing. Now you can put the office in a festive, holiday mood when you pick up the office donuts in the morning!

Another new item is the brownie topped with chocolate icing, white chocolate shavings and chocolate drizzle.

The new Holiday Dunkin' Donuts deal: you can purchase a bagel with cream cheese for just 99 cents when you order a medium or larger hot coffee.

If you're looking for a holiday gift for a coffee lover (without blowing the lid off of your budget), Dunkin' Donuts has several gifts available in participating stores and at, including the Dunkin' Donuts' Coffee Lover's Gift Set (over the Munchkins in the photo above), which includes two pounds of Dunkin's Original Blend coffee and two thermal travel mugs, for $19.99.

The seasonal menu items, flavors, and deals will be available today (November 12) through December 29, 2008

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts: America's Latte Break, 99¢

Dunkin' Donuts new "American Latte Break" means that now through November 11, on weekdays between 2 and 5pm, small hot or iced Lattes at Dunkin' Donuts are only 99 cents.

Another 'Dunkin' Deal' is a 99¢ Egg and Cheese Sandwich with the purchase of a medium or larger hot coffee.

"Americans are facing more and more challenges every day, as the economy forces many hard-working people to make difficult choices to keep their spending down. Whether or not to treat yourself to an afternoon latte shouldn't have to be one of them," said Frances Allen, Brand Marketing Officer for Dunkin' Donuts. "Dunkin' Donuts has been serving great coffee for more than 50 years, and no one knows better than us how important a cup of coffee can be in keeping people at their best. With America's Latte Break, those who keep this country running can keep themselves running with a delicious, high-quality latte, without breaking the bank."


But the best thing about getting a Latte at Dunkin' Donuts is that you can order one by saying "small, medium, or large." That is, you're not forced to use the vocabulary invented by some coffee company's marketing department.

I was reminded of this when I watched this ad on Dunkin's site:

I know this is an old rant that's been beaten into the ground. But, yet, Starbucks is still insisting we use their terminology... so maybe this rant has been ranted loud enough yet for Starbucks to hear.

I just find it so hard, so insulting to my sensibilities to be forced to use Starbucks artificial, elitist 'words' to specify what size coffee I want from their "Baristas!"

So, to help make my point, I'll present you with this oldy, but goody:

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

McDonald's coffee strategy hurting Starbucks

We know Starbucks is in trouble. They've already announced they'll be closing 600 stores. And it is understandable... with gas prices over $4 a gallon, Americans are having to make many tough financial choices. Skipping their $4 latte is one of the easy choices.

But there's another source of trouble for Starbucks: McDonald's!

from Financial Post:
"As McDonald's Corp. tries to become a "beverage destination" for thirsty North Americans, the fast-food giant's approach is going far beyond just a "coffee clash" with Starbucks Corp.

Not only has the restaurant chain's launch of its premium coffee been a success on the back of rave reviews from taste-testers, but it is adding many more specialty coffee drinks at McCafe locations later this year, including vanilla lattes, cafe mochas and caramel cappuccinos.

It has also begun gradually adding iced coffee and iced tea to menus, and is expected to offer smoothies and energy drinks by 2010. McDonald's is also going green with its coffee push, promising that all its beans will be grown in environmentally-friendly conditions by next year."

read the rest of the article at Financial Post.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jack's new 'Bold Roast' coffee

Jack in the Box introduced their new "Bold Roast Coffee" yesterday.

They call it "a full-bodied brew that blends coffeehouse quality with fast-food value and convenience."

Jack's new java features a European roast of 100% Arabica beans. It comes in regular and decaf and is served in two sizes – regular (12-ounce, $1.29) and large (16-ounce, $1.49).

"Today's consumers are more knowledgeable about coffee and have higher expectations," said Tammy Bailey, division vice president of menu marketing for Jack in the Box Inc. "They want a brew that has a rich, complex flavor, which our new Bold Roast Coffee delivers."

McDonald's and Chick-fil-a, among other's have already introduced upgraded fast food coffee.

So, fast food restaurants are finally starting to recognize consumers appreciation of better coffee. In fact, earlier this year Consumer Reports ranked McDonald's coffee higher than Starbucks.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

McDonald's coffee ranks high

Coffee snobs be warned: according to a survey outlined in the March issue of Consumer Reports magazine, McDonald's coffee was rated higher than Starbucks.

McDonald's coffee was "decent and moderately strong," while Starbucks' was "strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water," the magazine said.

McDonald's introduced coffee made from 100 percent Arabica beans, the kind used at Starbucks, a year ago.

The coffee from Starbucks, meanwhile, was determined to be "strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open."

The testers also ranked coffee from Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts, which claims to serve nearly a billion cups a year. Neither stood up to the competition, the magazine said.

Burger King's brew 'looked like coffee but tasted more like hot water,' the report states, while Dunkin's 'was inoffensive, but it had no oomph.'

McDonald's was not only the best tasting, but was also found to be the least expensive cup, the magazine said.


Friday, February 02, 2007

BK Breakfast value meal

Burger King will roll-out the BK Breakfast Value Menu on Feb. 19. The value menu will include two new menu items, the Hamlette sandwich and Cheesy Tots.

The value breakfast menu will include 10 offerings, starting at $1 each. Offerings include: Cheesy Tots; three-piece French Toast Sticks; Sausage Biscuit; small Hash Browns; Cini-minis; small BK Joe coffee in regular, decaf and turbo-strength; white or chocolate 10-ounce milk; 16-ounce soft drink; orange juice; and the Hamlette.

The new Hamlette sandwich has thinly sliced ham, melted American cheese and egg, topped with honey butter and served on a sesame seed bun. Another breakfast addition is Cheesy Tots, bite-size portions of melted mozzarella and cheddar cheeses inside a crispy potato crust. Cheesy Tots will be available all day in six-, nine- and 12-piece portions.

BK fans might also want to check out the BK Super Bowl bobble heads and the bobble head game. 8 different BK Superbowl bobbleheads are available in BK Kid's Meals.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Starbucks edges closer to fast food

Starbucks has announced that it will start selling warm food at 200 NY locations.

"We are responding to our customers' requests to be able to purchase a warm breakfast sandwich or pastry along with their Starbucks beverage, and we are confident that these new offerings will enhance their Starbucks experience," said Gretchen Bartkus, Starbucks regional food manager.

Starbucks expanded menu includes breakfast egg and meat sandwiches served on English muffins and available all day, as well as lunch sandwiches that can be served warm or cold -- including a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich and a chicken-cheddar club.

Starbucks has been expanding their breakfast menu for awhile, but this development certainly moves them even closer to becoming a fast food restaurant. And the fast food players have been improving their coffee.

Does this mean the coffee house and the fast food joint will gradually morph into some new hybrid?

Or does it just mean that Starbucks is turning into a fast food joint?

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

McBreakfast all day?

Jim Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's Corp., has announced the possibility of migrating the current breakfast menu into an all day item. The chain's breakfast menu has apparently been instrumental in its recent economic turnaround.

According to Skinner, items such as its McGriddle sandwiches and a revised blend of coffee have boosted sales, and the company is looking to expand upon that success. The CEO notes that some changes to the franchise would be necessary, however.

It would require the introduction of a new, more flexible operating platform, one which is being prepared for the company. "It's not compatible with our current operating system. But with this [new] system, that could be possible," said Skinner.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dunkin D's Sausage Omelet

Dunkin' Donuts has been expanding their breakfast menu for sometime. They've added an array of breakfast menu items that go beyond donuts, and they've expanded their coffee offerings to better compete with Starbucks and the like.

The most recent example of Dunkin' Donuts' breakfast menu improvements is the Sausage Supreme Omelet. It is eggs scrambles with vegetables, a sausage patty and American cheese on a baked bagel.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Coffee chains expand breakfast menus

Coffee house chains (Starbucks of course, but other ones, too!) continue to expand their food menus especially for breakfast.

For breakfast you can now skip the Egg McMuffin and $1.50 cup of coffee at McDonald's and opt for a $7 cup of coffee and Starbucks 500 calorie ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich with 24 grams of fat, or the Coffee Beanery's 670 calorie smoked ham and egg breakfast sandwich with 31 grams of fat. By the way, the Egg McMuffin has 300 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Despite the additional cost (and sometimes calories) these coffee house breakfast items are bound to cut into fast foods' breakfast business, because I guarantee you that there are folks that have hit McD's for an Egg McMuffin and then Starbucks for their Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino Blended Coffee. And despite the fast food joints upgrading their coffee, Starbucks will always win the coffee war, while people will happily trade their Egg McMuffin for something even bigger at their coffee place of choice.


And since I've mentioned Starbucks, I'll include this just for the heck of it, a press release issued by Starbucks on the 21st of this month:
You may have seen a rumor or web posting about Howard Schultz, Starbucks and the Israeli army. The rumor and web posting are factually inaccurate. Neither Chairman Howard Schultz nor Starbucks fund or support the Israeli Army. Starbucks is a non-political organization and does not support individual political causes.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

CA Pizza Kitchen in Chicago with breakfast

California Pizza Kitchen has opened their first CPK/ASAP location in Chicago.

California Pizza Kitchen has 195 total restaurants; 26 are of the CPK/ASAP variety that are specifically for 'on-the-go' customers.

The Chicago opening coincides with CPK/ASAP's new breakfast menu which offers a "selection of hearth-baked breakfast pizzas including: Warm Apple Pie Pizza; Florentine Pizza; and Applewood Smoked Bacon and Italian Sausage Pizza topped with Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheeses." Omelets, bagels, granola, juice, Tazo teas and specialty coffees are also available.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New products from McDonald's

McDonald's will begin selling a premium spicy-chicken sandwich next month and an Asian salad in May hoping to attract consumers seeking healthier fast food. They will also start selling a "more robust" coffee in March; the coffee will be served with the popular raised lids that open and close like those used by Starbucks. Also in development at McDonald's is a "drinkable breakfast" like enriched yogurt.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fast food coffee upgrades

The Starbucks induced coffee craze being what it is, I'm surprised fast food restaurants didn't respond a long time ago, but the upgrade to better fast food coffee is fairly recent.

The most recent is Burger King with last week's introduction of BK Joe — brewed 100% from premium arabica beans. Sold in decaf, regular and "turbo strength" (extra caffeine), the coffee will be in all of Burger King's more than 7,000 U.S. stores by the end of November.

Other coffee upgrades:
  • McDonald's tested a premium roast and plans a national rollout soon.
  • Chick-fil-A added a Cafe Blends line this summer.
  • Subway is trying gourmet java in some stores to lure morning traffic.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fast coffee

Apparently Starbucks is starting to copy fast food's drive-thru model. They are opening more and more drive-thru locations...and they are using abandoned fast food restaurants to house them. One in Nashville, TN is in a former Captain D's. And another in Augusta, GA is in an old McDonald's.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Chick-fil-a introduces gourmet coffee

Chick-fil-a is following its breakfast menu expansion of earlier in the year with the introduction of the Cafe Blends Coffee line; fast food's first premium coffee program to offer three blends of coffee. Cafe Blends Coffee is available in three specialty blends, Coffeehouse Light, Bistro Dark and Expressly Decaf. Chick-fil-a is also introducing the Cinnamon Cluster, a fresh-baked mini swirl, filled with sweet cinnamon, cream butter and whole eggs, with creamy vanilla icing.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

McDonald's plans to introduce specialty coffee drinks

Watch out Starbucks -- McDonald's could be brewing some trouble with plans to introduce its own specialty coffee. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based No. 1 fast-food chain will begin testing espresso drinks in select markets this summer.

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