McCafé: Unrivalled convenience

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Dominating the convenience channel in on-the-go coffee is McCafé. Convenience World Journalist Adam James explores the company and its outlook for the future.

When it comes to on-the-go convenience, as far as coffee is concerned, consumers don’t have to drive too far before they see the golden arches of a McCafé Drive-Thru. But four years after McCafé Drive-Thru was launched, McDonald’s claims its on-the-go barista coffee is now the nation’s favourite.

Convenience World asked McDonald’s Australia National McCafé Manager Brian Dessaix what lies in the future for McCafé as a brand, as well as on-the-go coffee from a McCafé perspective.

“The growth of McCafé over the past 25 years has been phenomenal, from its beginning in the Australian coffee capital, Melbourne, to where we are now in 2018, with coffee that’s recognised and available around the world,” he said.

“We have a long history of making changes and additions to McCafé, including mobile ordering, barista-made coffee and new blend development. One of the most significant was in 2014, when we launched McCafé Drive-Thru. This transformed the accessibility and convenience of barista-made coffee in Australia.

“We have spent time innovating our McCafé offering and are excited to have just launched our new blend with a new and improved taste profile, as well as a new look and engagement with baristas and operators across the system. The new blend continues our work with the Rainforest Alliance and includes beans from Brazil, Honduras and Kenya.

“McCafé continues to invest in training and we’ve now built state of-the art training facilities around the country, called The Barista Academy. We train our people in these purpose-built facilities, away from the hustle-bustle of our restaurants, to ensure they’re forever learning and can consistently serve quality coffee to our customers.”

So how does a company the size of McCafé view the coffee industry in Australia? Being a global brand has clearly helped the company establish itself within the Australian conscience – but does it really care what its customers think?

Mr Dessaix says, yes, the brand really does care.

“McCafé is truly a global sensation and something the Australian business is incredibly proud of,” he said. “We’re Australia’s most popular barista-made coffee and, with McCafé now available in so many countries, it shows people right around the world know and trust the taste and flavour of Aussie coffee.

“There is no doubt that Australia has a strong coffee culture, but we still see tremendous growth opportunities in coffee. We listen to our customers and our innovation is driven by them. We want to give our customers the best possible coffee experience – whether it’s looking at product, service, convenience or ambiance, we want to ensure we’re developing in all the areas our customers want us to.”

Mr Dessaix spoke about key trends at McCafé and his predictions for the on-the-go coffee category. It seems cold coffee is catching on in a big way, too, with order percentages on the rise.

“McCafé keeps a close eye on industry trends and we always have equipment, processes, products or simply new thinking in trial across our network,” he said. “For example, equipment that ensures consistency or aids capacity, or new products one would expect to see in high-profile independent cafés.

“While other Macca’s markets have experimented with flavoured coffees, we know the Aussie market love their traditional tastes – 43 per cent of coffees sold at McCafé in 2017 were cappuccinos. However, we’re seeing a growing trend towards cold coffees – the iced latte has jumped from one per cent of orders in 2012, to six per cent in 2017.

“I believe the future of McCafé holds more on-the-go coffee, further cold-coffee innovation and enhanced consumer-ordering capabilities. Most of the innovation we’ll see in the coffee category will increase the convenience for customers, while maintaining consistent quality.”