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AVAILABLE EXPERT: McDonald’s opens first standalone location

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Queen’s University marketing expert Ken Wong is available to comment McDonald’s opening its first standalone McCafe at Union Station in Toronto. The location offers grab-and-go quinoa salads, lentil hummus wraps and coconut water. It’s Canada first standalone McCafe.

“McDonald's was smart enough to position against Tim Hortons and not Starbucks,” says Professor Wong. “Tims sells consistency, speed, convenience and clean washrooms. McDonald’s does too. By contrast, Starbucks is more about coffee theater and a respite from the hustle and bustle of the world. But the real genius of McDonald’s was two aspects of the launch. First the grab and go format with true coffee specialties gave them something Tims didn’t have and a more convenient version of Starbucks, minus the atmospherics.

“The second was the use of free coffee to build profile. While giving samples isn't new it was better than the usual route of just advertising. A great move because no matter how convenient, they had to have a really good coffee to sell.”

“If McDonald’s throws its advertising weight and locations behind this it will be interesting. I don’t think Tims is in immediate trouble but it’s is no longer an unoccupied playing field. Starbucks and Tim Hortons may have been competitors in the past but they may find themselves cooperating against a common foe.”

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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