McDonald’s may have Egg McMuffin on its face if it can't out-grind Starbucks with a new line of premium coffees, the Chicago Tribune reports. The new coffee rollout, threatened by a shaky economy, marks one of the company’s riskiest launches ever, according to analysts. As food and labor costs rise, McDonald’s is asking franchises to invest up to $100,000 per store in java equipment.
The new “beverage cells” won’t offer Starbucks-level customization, but their coffees will cost 25% less—and tests show that required extra customer service time can be kept at 90 seconds or less. But one owner calls it a "crap shoot." With Starbucks stock already dropping nearly 50% over the last year, an analyst warned that "high-priced coffee might be seen as more of a luxury item and may be more of a difficult sell in an economic downturn."