McDonald's to launch bagged coffee in Canada

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:55pm EDT
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By Allison Martell and Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp will start selling bags of its ground coffee in major Canadian stores in November, its Canadian chief told Reuters on Thursday, in a likely challenge to rivals like Starbucks Corp and Dunkin' Donuts.

The McCafe-branded coffee, priced at C$6.99 for 340 grams, is being launched as McDonald's steps up its expansion in Canada after holding back for more than five years.

Canadian spokeswoman Jessica Greasley said the Canadian unit is not aware of any other McDonald's markets selling bagged coffee.

Earlier this month, market watchers noticed McDonald's had filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to use its McCafe brand for "ground and whole bean coffee." Some speculated that the company might launch bagged coffee in the U.S. market.

McDonald's U.S. operations could not immediately be reached for comment.

Speaking in an interview, Canadian President John Betts credited the coffee business for a turnaround at his unit and said there was the potential for a much larger footprint across the country.

"This year, we're going to build more restaurants than we've built in the last seven or eight years," he said on Thursday. "Next year, it's going to ramp up from that."

Around 30 new stores will open by the end of 2012, Betts said. He did not give specific figures for future periods. McDonald's has about 1,400 outlets in Canada.   Continued...

A McDonald's sign is shown at the entrance to one of the company's restaurants in Del Mar, California September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake