As you've probably gathered, we here at Life Inc. love deals and freebies. In that spirit, we wanted to call out this freebie here: Every Friday in November, Burger King is giving away free, 12-ounce cups of Seattle's Best Coffee during breakfast hours -- no purchase necessary. Good to know, right?
What caught our eye about the Burger King offer, though, was this wording: "Not valid on flavored shots or whipped topping." Good gravy, are fancy-pants coffee drinks popping up everywhere?
Short answer: Yes.
These days anyone can be a flavored-double-shot-mocha-latte-sipping urbanite, and Burger King wants a piece of that action. When you saunter into a participating BK to get your free jolt, you'll be given a coupon for a free iced mocha or vanilla Seattle's Best Coffee for use during a future visit. The hope, of course, is that you'll get hooked on these little luxuries and keep coming back for more.
Funny thing about Seattle's Best Coffee: It's owned by Starbucks, which has been waging a do-or-die coffee war with McDonald's for several years now. The war escalated when McDonald's launched its McCafé in 2008 and began heavily promoting frothy lattes, mochas and cappuccinos in an effort to steal market share from Starbucks.
Starbucks acquired Seattle's Best Coffee in 2003 and announced ambitious plans this year to revamp the brand. The goal: To start selling Seattle's Best to the masses at more than 30,000 fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, coffee houses, movie theaters, convenience stores, kiosks and vending machines. And yes, those fast-food restaurants include McDonald's arch-nemesis Burger King.
To intensify the battle, Starbucks also just began offering all sorts of free access to music, movies, e-books and paid newspaper content to go with the free wi-fi it serves up in its 8,800-plus company-owned stores. (This, after McDonald's announced it would start offering free wi-fi in more than 11,500 of its restaurants.)
Meanwhile, another player has been battling in the coffee-war trenches (and enjoying a wildly loyal following): Dunkin' Donuts. In addition to regular ol' cups of joe, Dunkin' Donuts' beverage menu includes a stunning 180 (!!) fancy and flavorful drinks. Options range from mocha raspberry lattes to iced pumpkin coffees to strawberry fruit Coolattas to vanilla chai. Dunkin' Donuts also does brisk business selling ground coffee and whole coffee beans.
Ain't competition grand? If you're a caffeine junkie, it most certainly is.
How do you feel about fancy coffee drinks at fast-food restaurants? Cast your vote here!