Review: McDonald’s Versus Starbucks Coffee

Both McDonald's and Starbucks sell billions of cups of coffee annually, making them the two most successful fast food chains in America.

Both McDonald's and Starbucks sell billions of cups of coffee annually, making them the two most successful fast food chains in America.

Nathaniel Gehrke, Student of Journalism

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According to an article on HuffPost, the average American drinks 2.1 cups of coffee per day. Two of the most popular places to purchase coffee, Starbucks and McDonald’s, offer vastly different experiences. Starbucks, claiming to offer the “best coffee and espresso drinks,” claims to sell nearly 4 billion cups of coffee annually, across the world. McDonald’s, the most successful fast food chain in America, sells nearly 1 billion cups of coffee annually, around the globe. According to Business Insider, McDonald’s and Starbucks are the two most successful fast food chains in America, by system-wide sales, with McDonald’s being ahead by a significant margin. With Starbucks selling nearly 4 times as much coffee as McDonald’s, it’s clearly the more popular option. But are people making the right choice? And what aspects of purchasing coffee do people care about the most? Both Starbucks and McDonald’s have their benefits and setbacks.

Starbucks, as a designated coffee chain, has some benefits. First, the environment of Starbucks is better than that of McDonald’s. Starbucks offers a variety of tables and counters, comfortable chairs, and free Wi-Fi. While McDonald’s also offers Wi-Fi, the interior is still designed like a fast food restaurant, making it less appealing to be there for an extended period of time. Next, Starbucks offers a much larger variety of drinks, ranging from coffees, teas, their branded frappuccinos and many more, all with a plethora of different flavorings. Although McDonald’s offers some options, they are minuscule compared to those of Starbucks. Finally, Starbucks has one other positive: a brand image. The iconic Starbucks logo can constantly be found on social media, as the brand has become a staple of this generation’s culture. McDonald’s, while popular, just does not have the same brand image that Starbucks has.

Although McDonald’s is lacking in some areas, there are many benefits to getting coffee there. First, McDonald’s is significantly cheaper than Starbucks. For example, a large iced or hot coffee at McDonald’s is only $1, less than half the price than one at Starbucks. Secondly, McDonald’s is much faster and more convenient. The system at McDonald’s for placing orders and picking them up is very streamlined and easy, while at Starbucks, the spot to pick up an order is different depending on what was ordered, and it is very easy to mistakenly take the wrong order. Overall, the process at Starbucks is less convenient and takes much more time. Lastly, the food menu at McDonald’s is much better. Since McDonald’s is primarily a fast food restaurant, they have an expansive food menu; this allows for the convenience of ordering a hot breakfast while getting a coffee.

McDonald’s and Starbucks are two popular and good options for getting coffee. Starbucks offers a comfortable environment, a variety of drinks and a developed brand image. McDonald’s, on the other hand, offers lower prices, convenience and a more expansive food menu. With the pros and cons of both options considered, it is up to the consumer to decide which is the best spot for coffee, for them.

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