Before its foray into salads, Starbucks had aggressively been competing with McDonald's over the title of 'best coffee' ever since Canadian Business magazine's blind taste-test last year declared McDonald's the winner and champion.
Starbucks has already tried to compete for a spot in the crowded breakfast line-up. Back in October last year, they announced a plan to roll out its breakfast sandwiches. After a taste-test, The Columnist Manifesto thought them to be so bad that he compared them to airplane food.
With Starbucks' grinds slightly burnt, management decided to tackle McDonald's straight on: Salads. Customers now have the option to order the new Tomato Mozzarella Insalada, Champagne Pasta Salad or Albacore Tuna Penne, among other delights. Try that with your new Raspberry Mocha Frappuchino.
Starbucks seems terrified that people think McDonald's coffee is better than theirs. Their expansion into selling music CDs and DVDs show the company's desire to find new revenue outlets, but the expansion into breakfast and salads says that they're afraid of losing its customer base to Ronald McDonald. Even worse, Starbucks is forgetting what made them Starbucks: The coffeehouse experience and quality coffee.
At this rate, Starbucks is en route to be a part of the complete fast-food market, and will directly compete with McDonald's, Burger King Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: BKC), Wendy's International (NYSE: WEN) and all the others.
What should McDonald's think? George Yared, CIO of Yared Investment Research, actually believes that Starbucks will become the next McDonald's. Time will tell.