It is all over the news lately that McDonald's is poised to take on Starbucks in the specialty coffee arena. McDonald's has recently won a taste test against other major coffee companies, including Starbucks, and has seen a marked increase in coffee sales.
Personally, I think it is a really bad move for McDonald's to start selling $3.00 coffee drinks. Recently we went though a McDonald's drive through where Donna, Kate's mom, order one of their iced coffee drinks. We had to wait forever to get our order which is exactly the opposite reason you go to McDonald's, i.e. quick cheap food.
This move could really alienate McDonald's core customers unless they find some way to produce espresso, latte and frappes in a production line. Which could also have a knock on effect to trained barristas as they are replaced by junior high school students.
Anyway if you don't think this move by McDonald's into coffee is significant then you need to read Fast Food Nation to see the power that McDonald's wields over North American food production. As they are the number one purchaser of beef and potatoes plus they are number two in chicken purchases.