Who else thought the coffee market was up for grabs? CosMc’s Did!

While everyone thought the coffee market was pretty well locked up with major brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’, and the variety of smaller brands like Tim Hortons and Panera (yes, that Panera!); McDonalds had other ideas. CosMc’s is McDonald’s latest attempt to gain market share in the highly coveted coffee industry. While it’s certainly not going to be easy ground to gain, CosMc’s is starting out with a state very familiar to us, making a big bet that everything truly is bigger in Texas.

Despite the first location opening in December of 2023 in a Chicago suburb, the future nine stores are currently in development in the lone star state. Texas provides a hotbed of opportunity with the seconds largest population in the country, but also one of the fastest growing populations – create a diverse culture open to trying new things. [1] McDonald’s is using their history of success at a time where there has been much backlash to try and change the narrative from high prices to new experiences worth paying for. With a mission of “Taking you to your happy place and making you feel rejuvenating by more than just a drink.” While a noble mission, this also has underlying tones to let you know their intention is to take over the coffee market, but they are also going to be selling food. So now that we understand their goal, let’s take a look at what they’ve created and how they anticipate it will stack up.

CosMc’s Menu: An Out of This World Experience, While Still in This World

The menu they’ve put together is certainly unique, ranging from legacy items that have stood the test of time to new items that feel like a copycat of other successful brands. Their drink options come with five different categories:

  1. Signature Galactic Boosts™
  2. Ice Teas & Lemonades
  3. Slushies & Frappes
  4. Brews (Coffee)
  5. Soft Drinks

CosMc’s goal of creating an “out of this world,” space themed experience is readily apparent by taking a look at the first drink category. These drinks cater to a specific crowd, with the thought that they may bridge the gap for the 3pm work slump. With these natural fruit names, they are promising a fruitful delight with relatively uncommon ingredients in the mass market, such as: Boba, Vitamin C shots, Kombucha and pre-workout in their new Signature Line.

They start out soft, making it feel like a fun game, before they add some knock blows to their competitors with their version of the popular Starbucks Refreshers™ or Panera’s Charged Sips in with various Iced Teas and Lemonades. With 12 exciting flavors, this places them almost toe-to-toe with Starbuck’s (having 14 Refreshers™ options) and well ahead of Panera, with just three.

Slushies & Frappes are CosMc’s real true dip into the legacy branding and positioning that McDonald’s has laid for them. Many Wall Streets might call this their “hedged bet”, and their layer of protection to ensure success. Frappes have a history with McDonald’s [2] and have already found their way into the heart and cup holders of millions of people – adding that touch and reputation that every coffee brand needs. Up to this point in the menu, McDonalds has been lowly competitive with the others, but that all changes with their next category: Brews. Offering 20 different variations of coffee and hot drinks, they are guaranteed to have something for everyone. Turmeric Spiced Latte, Chai Tea Latte, even S’mores Cold Brew are provided in cups that are reminiscent of the 90’s two-tone blue cups that immediately pull people to a simpler time.

No One Is Safe In CosMc’s World

With the drink options locked up, they move into the food – again dipping into the treasure chest of success from the McDonalds Universe. Classics like the Egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin with Egg and the Bacon McMuffin with Egg create the powerful trio to get people in the door, but the real fun begins with their new menu items. CosMc’s steers directly into the uncharted territory of Queso and Avocado (Why?…because their trendy, of course) adding a new Spicy Queso Sandwich and an Avocado Tomatillo Sandwich. These provide quick eat solutions to the otherwise casual locations you have to visit for this kind of food. By stealing the crowds away from the coffee shops, and also the coffee lines, they are trying to appeal to the mass market as “coffee culture” has deeply engrained in society.

Just when you think they won’t launch any more direct attacks, they saved one final knock out punch delivering it swiftly to Taco Bell. Despite Taco Bell not being in the coffee business, they have quietly enjoyed the success of their exploding cream filled treats through their partnership with Cinnabon. While they are seen as more of an order add-on option, they have found their stride and McDonalds took notice. McDonalds is adding the McPop lineup with cookie butter, apple cinnamon and hazelnut McPops as sweet snacks that can be added to any order to add the missing pieces.

While there are many other unique products, the bigger take away is that CosMc’s is coming for market share. They are acting like great white sharks, and everything is considered prey. Dunkin, Starbucks, Panera, Taco Bell… You have officially been warned.

For additional information, check out Prototopics Deep Dive on the subject on YouTube:

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