Crowning Burger King as coffee royalty

McDonalds has been at the forefront of industry trend setting for fast food franchises across the world. They practically invented the system. From the predictable menu combos that you can order from the employees that are trained with robot like accuracy, to the brightly colored, hard plastic chairs that are made so the customer spends an average of 20 minutes at the place. It is not very often that their competitors rise above them in a temporary takeover for their number one spot in consumer product sales. Sure, you might go to Wendy’s for a crispy chicken sandwich, but before you even sink your teeth into it, your subconscious may want to call the meal a McChicken.

Some franchises compete with the best when it comes to a replication of a menu item and that’s what Burger King sought to do when they released their Average Joe line of coffee circa 2005. If you don’t succeed, try, try again… Well maybe not, times are changing. Try to find a corporate partner with a brand image so strong it will flood the competition’s nostrils with the aromatic pungency of success.

Burger King is making a deal with Starbucks’ Seattle’s Best Coffee franchise to provide coffee distribution in locations across America. That’s Tuesday’s news from The Associated Press. Read the details of this story by visiting this link at USA TODAY.

Although these food and beverage service giants joining forces can be a sure shot for industry control aimed right at Ronald McDonald himself, the big man has proven he can stand the test of time.

We can think back to some of the public relations disasters in the past ten years that have rocked the grease clean from under the grill of the American Fast Food Industry.

A full length documentary about the dangers a diet consisting of only food from McDonalds did not knock Ronald off his pedestal. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie “Super Size Me” earned millions in profit from the film’s budget. Some viewers may have agreed with Morgan Spurlock that fast food is playing a role in the downward spiral of a healthy society, but the long-term effect on business many years later has not stopped consumers from “Bah da, Bah Bah Bah… lovin’ it”.

Thinking back to years ago, I can remember the corporate dissimilarity imprinted on my brain by the Burger King brand and the tasty memories of the flame broiled flavor. I don’t know if you can actually taste a memory, but I was also unsure if anyone could trust the King and his minions ever again after word leaked out that those ‘flame broiled’ grill marks were painted on with who knows what.

Both McDonalds and Burger King have had negative press, but both corporations have significantly recovered from their low points. Now with Starbucks teaming up with Burger King, peoples drink choices may pull in different target consumers. The question of what to drink with a fast food lunch may be more of a deciding factor of where to dine.

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5 Responses to Crowning Burger King as coffee royalty

  1. hhoma says:

    I hadn’t heard about Burger King teaming with Starbucks until reading this post, and I think it is a great PR move. Starbucks already has a HUGE cult-like following, and I’m sure those people hate it when they plan to get fast food for lunch but they also need their coffee; that means they have to make two stops and waste more time than if they could get their Starbucks and their lunch from the same place. And while I personally do not understand how coffee and burgers mix, I know there are some people (like my father) who drink coffee with anything and everything. It’ll be interesting to see how this PR tactic plays out.

    On another note, whoever came up with the idea to refer to items on the McDonald’s menu as “Mc so-and-so” was completely genius! Even though I’ve never eaten a mcnugget in my entire life, I remember ordering “mcnuggets” at Wendy’s as a child, and it took me a few years to figure out why my mom would always correct me. It’s amazing how that type of branding has become so huge.

  2. cmcelroy says:

    Sounds like this is a brilliant move on the part of Burger King. Starbucks has really identified itself as the go-to for excellent coffee and announcing Burger King as an ally is going to elevate the impression people have on BK coffee. But I’m curious the impact this announcement will have on the Starbucks half of the partnership. With the expansion of the menu to include food, and the increasing number of drive-thru stores popping up, Starbucks is actively fighting against the notion that it is turning into just another fast food joint. I wonder if the public alignment with one of the giants in the fast food empire is going to streamline those arguments being pushed on the Bucks.

  3. acarlin says:

    I hadn’t heard of this merger before reading your post either. I’m not sure this is a great idea on Starbucks’ behalf. While Starbucks is definitely a chain, they sell a certain lifestyle with their $4 lattes, recycled cups and indie music. I feel like it is kind of opposite a greasey, dollar menu fast food joint. Not saying it won’t be successful, I’m sure it will be

  4. cwilusz says:

    I think this is a great business venture for Burger King. I think we can all agree that McDonald’s dominates when it comes to fast food. I think BK needed to team up with a corporation a reputable as Starbucks in order to sway potential customers. Even though I like the idea I do not think it will last and help BK. McDonalds is like a monopoly I do not think any competition can ever threaten its existence in the fast food arena.

  5. dolson says:

    I think this is a clever move on both companies’ part. I have always associated Burger King with being a more quality product than McDonald’s (which is still relative; this is fast food, after all) and teaming up with Seattle’s Best only adds to that image for me. McDonald’s dominates, but it also has a long reputation of serving food that is food in name only (Taco Bell makes a close second). Burger King is slightly higher up the scale, although I won’t eat there, either. Having decent coffee available adds to Burger King’s branding as a better chain.

    The condundrum for Starbucks is interesting, as well. Starbucks already tried serving more food, I think it was sandwiches at one time, and this flopped for them. People didn’t like the choices, or the food smells mixing with the coffee. So Starbucks focused more on breakfast-style items. I think it’s a fine idea to offer more eatables with coffee drinks. Granted, a sandwich doesn’t mix well with a caramel frappiccino, but Starbucks still offers regular brewed coffee.

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