Monday saw McDonald’s Japan open its very first cafe-style outlet in Tokyo. But don’t expect to get your usual order of a quarter-pounder and french fries. In order to more directly compete with Starbucks, which remains the undisputed most popular coffee chain in Japan, the new ‘McCafe by Barista’ will serve specially brewed coffee and other cafe-style snacks.
The McCafe by Barista has intentionally opened its first location in the luxurious Omotesando district, in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. There it will offer a much wider selection of coffees one would find at a regular McDonald’s, and at slightly higher prices, ranging from 220 to 330 yen (approx. $2.80 to $4.20). Yet their offering will be around 100 yen cheaper than their more expensive competitors, such as Starbucks. Eikoh Harada, McDonald’s Japan chairman and president, says their goal is to provide customers with more satisfaction and a greater quality of taste than what more expensive outlets in the area serve.
The new cafe-style McDonald’s subsidiary is now offering a number of different coffee and espresso drinks, all brewed by a barista upon order, and served in quality mugs and glasses, as opposed to plastic cups. The food menu includes cafe staples like muffins, cakes, and cookies. Not waiting to judge the public’s reception, the second McCafe by Barista will be opening this Friday in the high-end Roppongi Hills. McDonald’s Japan has said they plan to have 30 or more cafe outlets open before the end of this year, and as many as 600 nation-wide before the end of 2015. Any coffee aficionados from Japan out there with any thoughts on this? Would you be willing to give up your favorite blend or brand for a day to try a McDonald’s espresso? Let us know in the comments!