McDonald’s introduces stand-alone McCafé

The location in Toronto's Union Station is part of the QSR's strategy to become a go-to coffee brand.

McDonald’s Canada has introduced its first stand-alone McCafé location at Union Station in Toronto, part of the QSR’s ongoing strategy to position itself as a go-to for coffee and now, food items that pair well with its beverages.

“The new stand-alone McCafé locations allow us to build on our strong coffee credentials and create even stronger connections with our brand by offering our guests the more complete café menu they’ve been asking us for,” John Betts, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, said in a press release.

The new café, smaller than a typical McDonald’s restaurant, will include “on the go” items, like the Egg McMuffin and artisan sandwiches (such as apple and brie on a croissant), as well as McCafé Bakery items such as “authentic French croissants” and cream cheese danishes with fruit. Those Bakery menu items began rolling out to McDonald’s locations nationally in August.

Some menu items, such as the McCafé Affogato (soft serve ice cream and Oreo cookies with espresso), aim to make the location a destination for afternoon pick-me-ups, as well as the morning breakfast rush, according to the press release.

The menu items, as well as the stand-alone café, were created in response to consumer feedback asking for menu items to pair with their coffees, says Catherine Crozier, McCafé growth platform lead at McDonald’s Canada.

The new location includes self-ordering kiosks, mobile device charging stations, and free Wi-Fi. Currently aimed at commuters and busy downtowners, McDonald’s will be looking at consumer response to figure out its strategy with the stand-alone cafés going forward, Crozier says.

After creating its free coffee days in 2009, McDonald’s launched the McCafé brand nationally in Canada in 2011 with espresso-based drinks, followed by “Real Fruit Smoothies” in 2012 and McCafé Premium Roast Coffee through grocery channels in 2014.

A second dedicated McCafé location is set to open at First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto in January, and will have seating for 19 people.

McDonald’s is currently using social media to drive people to the new location, promoting the hashtag #MyMcCafeRitual to get people from across Canada engaged. It’s also using new digital columns in Union Station.