The Year in Food 2007

Starbucks Hits a Mc–Land Mine

The mocha Frappuccino’s reign of frothy supremacy is crashing like a deprived caffeine junkie. In the last fiscal year, Starbucks’s stock dropped 23 percent, mainly due to the coffee maker’s tactics of plopping cookie-cutter stores on every corner—14,396, at last count. Compounding the java vendor’s tribulations, a Consumer Reports taste test ranked McDonald’s Premium coffee ahead of Starbucks’s, citing lower cost and better flavor than the Seattle company’s bitter, wallet-emptying brew. Meanwhile, McDonald’s took a page from its upscale competitor, opening a new line of McCafé restaurants. They use real plates and stainless steel silverware, are furnished with leather chairs and comfy couches, and sell gourmet lattes and cappuccinos alongside frosting-topped cake with the chain’s usual legendary efficiency. Up next: the Big Mac–and-Americano Value Meal. —Joshua M. Bernstein

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