In February, McDonald’s released an advertisement for McCafe, slamming speciality coffee with a slew of (admittedly hilarious) parodies. In the spirit of a fair argument, I’d like to present a response to the problems that the advert outlines.
Firstly, here is the ad for your viewing pleasure.
After quite a few views and quite a bit of laughter, I believe I’ve isolated the criticisms of the advert. Let’s address these issues!
- The coffees are too small
Do you know how many shots are in a Starbucks Grande (16 oz) Latte? There are two shots of espresso. Guess how many are in an 8 oz Latte from a speciality coffee shop…. Yep, it’s also two. There’s no capitalist conspiracy in speciality coffee to rip off customers, coffees are served in the sizes they are to provide optimal tasting coffee. Coffees that actually taste like coffee, and not a milkshake.
- The menu is too complex
A classic paradox of choice. Customers want more choices but are caused anxiety due to being overwhelmed by choice. However, there is a solution; ask for assistance. We’ll always have time to recommend a coffee because we want our customers to have the best possible experience.
- The service is down right rude!
While we all know some coffee shops in Edinburgh and elsewhere, where you’re more likely to get a look of disdain than a smile from the barista - my experience as a customer in speciality coffee shops has been overwhelmingly positive, with good quality coffee and friendly staff. We do work hard at Machina to make sure everyone feels welcome and enjoys their coffee. Yes, some of us have beards, wear dungarees, and listen to obscure music - but ultimately, we’re all nice folks trying to create the best possible experience for our deserving customers.
- The coffees look weird or are served in a bizarre fashion
On this point in the advert, maybe when we start making deconstructed coffees, we’ve gone too far. With that being said, customers don’t need to order bizarre coffees if they don’t want to. We sell classic options like a long black and a latte. Problem solved.
- There’s a ping pong table where some seats should be
Yeah… I’ve got to give it to McDonald’s on this one. Putting a Ping Pong table in a small coffee shop is a pretty silly idea.
- “I have too many coffee loyalty cards!”
First world problem, amirite?
- Sign reads: “Open at 11 am”
Is it a Sunday? Again, not a great business decision for a speciality cafe.
- Cakes are too expensive
If this ad was filmed in London, I can attest to the £6 price tag for a cake. That would, however, be ridiculous.
- People keep taking photos of their coffee
This isn’t a problem in McDonald’s because their coffees are less aesthetically pleasing.
- The WiFi password is stupid
I thought that “flyhighwithyourdreams” was a beautiful password. No?
- Coffee puns are stupid
I have no response to this absurd criticism.
- Speciality coffee is too expensive
Speciality coffee is the iPhone circa 2007; it’s a premium product. It goes without saying that it is going to cost more than a cup of coffee from McDonald's. Not only are the coffee beans used of a higher grade and price, but the time taken for a barista to make each coffee is greater, leading to higher staffing costs. Weighing out espresso shots takes extra time. If the coffee runs to quickly or too slowly, the espresso may be discarded and remade. The emphasis placed on consistency and quality mean that a greater level of care goes into making each coffee, and compensation for this is justified.Written by Oliver Scotting, Cafe Manager & Barista