Industry News | February 23, 2009

McDonald's Not Scared of Starbucks at Breakfast

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The No. 1 quick-serve in America isn’t threatened by Starbucks.

McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner told a group on Friday that Starbucks’ attempts at the breakfast business weren’t eating into McDonald’s market share.

“They've been all over on this idea of breakfast. First they were in, then they were out,” Skinner said while at a Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management luncheon, Reuters reports. Skinner went on to say that he thought Starbucks’ focus on the morning daypart was good for the company and that he wished Starbucks well, “but not too well.”

The two companies couldn’t be weathering the recession any differently. Over the last year, Starbucks has announced thousands of layoffs while McDonald’s sales continue to rise. But Starbucks’ debut of its breakfast bundle may have Skinner singing a different tune in the coming months.

Although McDonald’s has long been a big player in the cheap breakfast arena, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced last month that the company would offer breakfast value meals to try to correct consumer misperceptions that the company was a luxury brand.

“We are offering our customers a selection of delicious, high-quality breakfast options at an everyday, affordable price,” says Starbucks spokeswoman Alisa Martinez.

McDonald’s downplayed Skinner’s comments and company spokeswoman Heidi Barker said he had no follow-up statement for QSR.

“We remain focused on customers and running our business and continue to offer excellent value across all menu levels,” Barker says.

--Blair Chancey