Burger King once again has revamped its coffee, this time adopting a “a new, 100% Latin American arabica bean custom blend” from supplier Seattle’s Best, a unit of Starbucks. The new Smooth Roast platform includes brewed coffee, iced coffee and, for the first time, lattés (beginning in March), which moves Burger King a bit closer to McDonald’s McCafé menu.
The company release doesn’t mention equipment, but a Burger King spokesperson told BurgerBusiness.com that its roughly 8,400 U.S. stores will install specialty coffee machines by mid-March in order to execute the espresso-based lattés. The company declined to disclose the cost of the equipment. But the spokesperson did say that the U.S. specialty-coffee equipment is not being supplied by Nestlé Professional, with which Burger King reached a deal last year for specialty coffee and equipment in Latin America.
In September 2010, Burger King dropped its BK Joe coffee platform in favor of brewed and iced coffees with Seattle’s Best coffee. That introduction came with the burger chain’s proclamation, “Burger King is sure to become the destination for breakfast.” That hasn’t quite happened yet as the battle among QSRs for breakfast shares has intensifed.
McDonald’s, meanwhile, is moving its coffee program into the retail sector. Last year it began selling bagged, whole-bean coffee at selected McDonald’s restaurants in Canada. Wendy’s has put its breakfast rollout on hold but still is expected to expand the Red Roasters coffee platform that is a part of the breakfast package. Denny’s was the most recent of many restaurant chains to upgrade and brand its coffee program, unveiling its new Diner Roast coffee platform.