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Top 200 analysis: Burgers vs. baristas

See how Burger King stacks up against the big coffee players

The major quick-service brands have spent the last few years upgrading their coffee programs to compete with coffee chains, adding espresso platforms, cold brew and discounted drinks.

This spring, Burger King upped the ante with a new value proposition: a coffee subscription program.

Starting March 15, participating Burger King restaurants across the U.S. began offering coffee subscriptions for a $5 monthly fee. The BK Café Coffee subscription, available only through the chain’s app, is valid for a small cup of coffee each day. 

“For the price of a large cappuccino from Starbucks, you can have a BK Café brewed coffee every day for a month,” the chain said.

That jab at the nation’s largest coffee chain comes amid a growing focus on morning beverage programs among quick-service brands. McDonald’s in 2017 pledged to raise its McCafé game starting with the addition of three new espresso drinks to the coffee menu, which had been unchanged since it debuted in 2009. Earlier this year, Carl’s Jr. debuted a Vanilla Cold Brew nationwide for the starting price of $2.29. And Dunkin’ late last year leaned into its image as a beverage specialist by adding new espresso offerings ditching the “Donuts” from its name.

According to the 2018 Top 200 report, the Beverage-Snack segment, which includes coffee chains, had 4.7% growth in U.S. systemwide sales and 4.4% growth in U.S. units in the latest year. By comparison, the Limited Service/Burger segment posted U.S. sales growth of 2.6% and domestic unit growth of 0.4%.

On the heels the latest coffee promotion from Burger King, NRN looks at how the brand compares to traditional coffeehouse brands in terms of sales growth. Figures are from the 2018 Top 200 database and show year-over-year growth in U.S. systemwide sales for the Top 200 Latest Year.


Explore the full 2018 Top 200 report.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @FastFoodMaven

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