Can a McCafé compete with French bakers?
Though McDonald's is best known for selling hundreds of billions of burgers the American chain is testing something of a radical new concept in France: a McDonald's store that doesn't serve burgers. This new McCafé in Paris is nearly unrecognizable as a McDonald's, explains Business Insider, with a sleek black storefront that's been stripped of the golden arches and red awnings for which the brand is so well known. Instead, this McCafé is focused on serving up "coffee and delicacies." That means pastries, like macarons and croissants and pains aux raisins, as well as some more filling breakfast-inspired options, like a bagel with pastrami or something called "Chicken Tex Mex," according to Grub Street.
This kind of McDonald's concept store isn't unprecedented. In fact, as a report from French newspaper Le Figaro explains, McDonald's tested out a similar concept store in 2010 that only served salads—and it was shut down within a year due to lack of interest. This newest concept restaurant might be better tested though, because last year, McDonald's Canada opened standalone McCafés in Tortonto that seem to have served a menu similar to that of the new French McCafé. As Business Insider reported at the time, these Canadian McCafés offered a wide selection of pastries, including croissants, and sandwiches, like a sriracha pulled beef sandwich and a lentil and sweet potato hummus wrap with kale.
But McDonald's France seems to understand it's going to be fighting an uphill battle, with a spokesperson telling Le Figaro, "It is too early to make a review or to anticipate a widespread deployment of this test." The French paper also pointed out that burgers are coming back in vogue, with the reemergence of Burger King and even Five Guys, so opening up a burger-free McDonald's might not be the best play at the moment. And even then, can McDonald's ever really compete with a French bakery?
Then again, it's as close as McDonald's has gotten to an all-day, all-breakfast restaurant, so maybe it will be a hit. Just don't expect to see it in the United States anytime soon.