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a latte with that Big Mac?

Let's consider some things:
* Over 13,000 US locations,
* every one is a proven food service hot spot location
* nearly all with convenient drive-thrus
* Sure StarBuckies has the atmosphere and location for all-day work on your WiFi laptop professionals, but that hardly turns huge dollars compared to the working public who might like a better coffee,
* latte or espresso with a sausage biscuit & egg on their way to work, there are far more of these customers than folks lounging about seven days a week, IMHO, and the entire food package is weighted in favor of the Golden Arches
* a process that amounts to putting a cup under a device and pressing some buttons - a barista is hardly a highly skilled surgeon
* If Mickey Dee lays claim to leading the world in anything, it is automating a food process for lowest cost and consistant quality

Dennis Lombardi, food industry consultant at W.D. Partners apparently agrees. He says that when it comes to coffee, McDonald's sees "the phenomenal opportunity in the entire specialty hot beverage" area. The McCompany is starting to do here at home, some of what it has done in "countries outside the U.S." Lombardi says he doesn't see any problems with this move since McDonald's has managed to keep its "focus" while it has "dramatically expanded" its offerings over the years. When it comes to StarBucks, Lombardi doesn't see this as a real threat since the "brands really play to different types of occasions and to a large extent, a different type of consumer."

Why would folks abandoned the heady days of growth buying latte's at StarBuckies?

Well, credit woes and employment issues come to mind, $4 a gallon gas, inflation, food prices increasing as farm land is used for low-energy content ethanol - it all adds up. But McD is hardly a splurge, rather, it's a convenince and a value proposition. And as for bringing in new customers, or ones not stopping by since their lunch was in a Happy Meal, it is people not returning to StarBuckies but rather going to the Golden Arches that Mickey Dee may gain even added sales growth in 2008. Consider this:

A Denver research firm polled 1,500 adults ages 18-55 asking them what exactly is preventing them from returning to the restaurant chains where they have dined in the past. Consumers who were less than 50% sure that they would return to a chain were deemed part of the leaky bucket. Those who were 90% certain they'd be going back for more were defined as "active users." Everyone in between was dubbed a "fence sitter."

Among the burger giants, McDonald's had the least lapsed users (27%) while Burger King had the most (33%). For BK, food was also the primary reason patrons were not coming back, per 64% of users. Comparatively, Paris Hilton's favorite In-N-Out Burger had a 38% leak rate because of its lack of locations, said 71% of lapsed diners.

"There is dissatisfaction among bigger brands like McDonald's," said Arjun Sen, president of the Restaurant Marketing Group. "Respondents feel that they are compromising on food and service for the sake of convenience." ......While consumer dissatisfaction with the bigger players opens the door for these brands, Sen said, "There are too many occasions where location is the most important factor or the only factor."

Couple these facts with the phenomenol performance of McStock, 36% rise in the last year alone, 380% rise from $12 a share in April 2003, and a dividend that has doubled in recent times to $1.50 per share, a 2.6% dividend.... Mmmm, Mmmm, good, that's what I see.{3879F4E7-C5EC-41C2-9181-BB76551CDF2A}
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