I considered slogging the story with the title "Today in the Newsworthy Hopes of McDonalds Marketing Executives!" and featuring this chunk:
The nation's largest fast-food chain is on a multibillion-dollar mission to become a serious beverage juggernaut...In the process, it's turning the fast-food world upside down.
But then I noticed the story gets kind of creepily interesting:
As cola sales fell, McDonald's executives grew frustrated watching folks pass through the drive-through — or walk into the restaurant — bringing energy drinks, fancy coffees or smoothies purchased elsewhere to have with their meals, says John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest. "McDonald's decided to become a beverage destination."
On willfully becoming a beverage destination:
Expanding the beverage line into pricier drinks is seen as a way to boost check averages as well as lure customers to McDonald's for snacks during slower parts of the day, such as afternoons.
There is still plenty of room for McDonald's to fail as a beverage kingpin — some are even certain it will — but the prize is so potentially huge that McDonald's, which has few other growth options, can no longer ignore it.
"How big is big?" poses Karen Wells, vice president of U.S. strategy & menu at McDonald's. "It's really big when you have $153 billion out there for the taking," she says, in reference to the amount Americans spent on non-alcoholic beverages last year.
McDonald's is following the money. And consumer tastes. Specialty coffee is a $13 billion market in the USA, says the Specialty Coffee Association. Coffee sales at McDonald's have jumped double digits every year since 2006, when it rolled out premium coffee. So why stop there?
"The sky is the limit," says Wells, pointing straight upward.
I hold every single person who's ever carried a smoothie into a McDonalds personally responsible for this.