In a bid to take a share of Canada’s coffee shop market and reach more customers, McDonald’s Canada has announced its plans to open standalone McCafé coffee shops.
The first McCafé Canadian location opened at downtown Toronto’s high-traffic Union Station today, and a second location will open at First Canadian Place in early-2016. More locations are expected to open elsewhere in Canada as part of a pilot project to reduce the restaurant chain’s dependence on burgers and fries.
Consumers are looking for more healthier options, which is reflected in consecutive drops in quarterly sales figures. But the company recorded an all-time high with its shares in the latest quarterly report, an indication of investor confidence with the chain’s long-term turnaround plan.
The expansion into a new frontier takes direct aim at the Canadian coffee shop oligopoly held by Tim Hortons and Starbucks.
The café’s new and smaller space configuration allows the chain to expand into tight spaces within high-density urban areas. It comes with limited café menu offerings prepared fresh in-house, including all-day breakfast with baked goods, the popular Egg McMuffin and bagel sandwiches, and specialty coffees, and fruit smoothies. Other items include the classic grilled cheese, croissants, ready-made artisan sandwiches, a variety of sandwiches, and the Affogato made with Oreo cookie crumbs, soft serve, and a shot of espresso.
“We’re putting the café in McCafé and making the brand a destination in its own right,” said John Betts, President and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, in a statement. “The new standalone McCafé locations allow us to build on our strong coffee credentials and create even stronger connections with our brand by offering our guests the more complete café menu they’ve been asking us for.”
The McCafé concept was first launched in Canada in 2011 as an addition within existing restaurant locations. The standalone McCafé coffee shop was first launched in Melbourne, Australia in 1993 and generally perform better than full McDonald’s locations.
Earlier this fall, McDonald’s Canada announced its plan to introduce custom touch screen ordering and table service at 1,000 locations across the country by 2017. A total of 15,000 new jobs will be created from the changes.