McDonald's Wants You to Come for Free Coffee

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
March 31 2014 12:24 PM

McDonald’s Wants You to Come for Free Coffee

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The restuarant giant is hoping that it can snag new customers with its two-week promo.

Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In what’s looking like an increasingly desperate cry for customers, McDonald’s is offering small cups of free coffee to customers for the next two weeks.

The fast-food giant has struggled as of late, with declining sales, slow service that turns off customers, and several failed menu rollouts. Now, the Golden Arches are also facing new competition in the breakfast sphere—which makes up some 20 percent of the company’s business—from chains like Taco Bell and Starbucks.

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The free coffee giveaway is a first for McDonald’s. Its McCafé product line launched in the U.S. in 2009 and was largely geared at bringing in higher-end customers and your average busy white-collar worker. The company is hoping that the free coffee, which tastes something like that of Dunkin' Donuts, will remind caffeine-deprived consumers that McDonald’s is a good and quick addition to the morning commute.

At the moment, McDonald’s is still reeling from a punch competitor Taco Bell threw last week. In a now viral video ad, “Guess Who Loves Taco Bell’s New Breakfast,” the chain paid a few dozen real-life Ronald McDonalds to sing their praises of the company’s new breakfast menu, which stars the syrupy and heart-stopping waffle taco.

The free coffee was available at participating McDonald’s nationwide as of breakfast hours this morning, and the promo will run through April 13.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

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