When it comes to the fast food race, there's one chain that sits high above the rest in terms of earnings.
Despite the intense popularity of Chick Fil A for fowl fanatics and Starbucks (SBUX) - for the caffeine-dependent, the numbers don't lie -- McDonald's (MCD) - makes what the next highest-earning restaurant chain does.
McDonald's made globally in 2021, with Starbucks second in line at in revenue globally.
McDonald's relies on a classic formula to keep customers coming back rather than trying to come up with the craziest offerings possible (a favorite tactic of places like Yum! Brands' (YUM) - Burger King).
But it does innovate in its own low-key way, and one of those innovations has been the McCafé menu. Launched in 1993 in Australia, the collection started out to cater to the growing interest in café-style coffee drinks such as lattes and espressos.as a limited-edition item in September 2020. Think of your typical glazed donut, but with no hole and separated into little round segments you can pull apart with ease, like a cluster of donut holes.
The donut garnered rave reviews after its launch from food bloggers, who had nothing but praise to heap upon the little sugar-coated snack.
Despite the positive reception, the donut vanished from some McDonald's locations after fall was over. And McDonald's must have gotten some heat from customers missing it, because it just announced that the donuts are back on the menu.
While some people were happy to see them return, however, others trying them for the first time were less than thrilled about the size.
McCafé Has Had to Change to Succeed
While McCafé seems to have found its footing in the fast food world with items like the pull-apart donut, this wasn't always the case.
The brand was overhauled in 2017 with the aim of appealing to fans of higher-end coffee chains like Starbucks. While McDonald's said at the time it was making about $4 billion in annual sales from McCafé, it also clearly saw more room to grow.
It announced it would do so by focusing on sustainable sourcing of its espresso and coffee beans, adding seasonal flavors, and more.as the changes were introduced, showing McDonald's that it was on the right track to understanding what its customers wanted.
The company also captured a sector of the market that didn't have as many options before: those who didn't want to spend $6 or more for a gourmet coffee, but would happily take a similar offering at a lesser price.
Today a large Frappe at McDonald's is $3.39, for instance, while Grande Starbucks Frappuccino is $3.95.