The Lowdown: CosMc’s

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Everything you need to know about McDonald's new spin off brand CosMc's

Related tags McDonald’s QSR Fast food Drinks CosMc's

McDonald’s is launching a spin-off brand that appears to have Starbucks and its ilk in its cross-hairs.

I love the name
So do we. Named after CosMc, an alien from outerspace with a penchant for French fries who featured in adverts for the fast food giant in the 80s and 90s, CosMc’s has that retro feel that will mean nothing to the legion of Millennials and Gen X Maccies customers but will strike a chord with an older generation.

What do we know about it?
The first CosMc’s opens this week in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and is being positioned by the company as a snack and coffee/drink concept rather than a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s has ditched its red branding for a smart blue with one of the golden arches seemingly crashed into the ground as part of its new logo. ‘At CosMc’s, we’re exploring how we might solve the 3pm slump by lifting humans up with every sip’, is the positioning for CosMc’s, but the inclusion of breakfast items - which are understood to be available throughout the day in a first for McDonald’s - means its very much targeted at the morning coffee crowd as well.

What’s on the menu?
Drinks will play a major part of the CosMc’s universe with options that include slushes and frappes, ice tea and lemonades, coffees, and signature ‘galactic boosts’. Products include a sour cherry energy burst, chai frappe burst, churro frappe, s’mores cold brew, blueberry ginger boost, and an island pick-me-up punch. ‘CosMc’s menu is rooted in beverage exploration, with bold and unexpected flavor combinations, vibrant colors and functional boosts’, according to the company. There will also be a shortened range of McDonald’s classics such as Egg McMuffins alongside new options like the spicy queso sandwich, and the creamy avo and tomatillo sandwich as well as savory hash brown bites and pretzel bites served with dipping sauces. On the sweet side, there’s a blueberry lemon cookie sundae and caramel fudge brownies.

Sounds healthy...
The products might be highly calorific but the market McDonald’s is looking to take a bite out of is in rude health. Speaking to investors McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski described the speciality drinks business as a $100bn category that was growing faster than the rest of the eating-out market with ‘superior margins’.

Should Starbucks be worried?
McDonald’s is playing down the potential of CosMc’s saying it has plans to open only 10 locations, including nine restaurants in Texas, by the end of 2024 to test the waters. The new locations will have a range of sizes and layouts, including multiple drive-thru lanes, with the company also testing out new payment technology to speed up service and says it could spend up to a year analysing the data before making any decisions on its expansion.

Is it coming to the UK?
There are no plans yet to introduce the new brand into any international markets, so it's very much a case of wait and see. That said, the company thinks it’s on to something and has hopes that the concept can be rolled out into other countries in the future. “It’s not worth our time to develop an idea that will only work in one market,” said Kempczinski, tellingly.

What else can we expect from McDonald’s?
Growth is on the cards, with Kempczinski saying that McDonald’s is planning to open about 10,000 restaurants globally by 2027, in what would be it’s fastest period of growth in its history. We might also see the return to the limelight of more McDonald’s characters following the recent success of its Grimace shake that celebrated the 52nd birthday of milkshake-loving purple giant.

Even the return of The Hamburglar?
The masked thief might not be the most PC of characters in these shop looting times but bigger roles for Mayor McCheese, Birdie the Early Bird, and the crescent moon character Mac Tonight could be on the cards. It takes you back...

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