Can Fancy Fast Food Beat Starbucks?

June 14, 2011

Fast food is getting an upscale makeover. Over the next several months the kings of fast food--McDonald's, Burger King and Subway--will be transformed from brash, brightly-colored, quick-and-dirty eat-a-terias into subdued, well-lit, cozy places to linger, reminiscent of your corner Starbucks. Ad Age is calling it the "Cafe Concept." They even mention that some of your local Subways will include--wait for it--fireplaces. Fancy! 

So this begs the question: Do you think you're more likely to eat at a fancy McDonald's? Is the yellow plastic what's keeping you from swinging through Subway for lunch? Is mood lighting what separates you from a daily Whopper with cheese? 

Starbucks has clearly been the fast-food success story over the past decade. Any outfit that can convince Americans they need a daily $5 coffee has to know what they're doing, right? And the cozy, neighborhood vibe and crunchy soft music really do make Starbucks a sweet place to have a meeting, talk trash with your homegirls, or just grab a minute of peace for yourself. 

So now the fast-food big boys are trying to get in on the act. On one hand, maybe you might be apt to eat at Burger King if the floors are less sticky. But is decor and design enough to get you to change the way you think about fast food? Then again, there's the $5 coffee argument. 

What do you think? Do you think you'll be more likely to eat fast food after the makeover? Let us know what you think! 




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Anonymous's picture

No amount of ambience and decor can change what people are putting into their bodies at these fast food places. Light a candle and some incense at home and make a fresh meal.

wubzmom's picture


Andie Mitchell's picture

Wow! So interesting- can't wait to see how their sales do!

Barnaby's picture

I agree that I'd like to see fast food joints improve the quality of the food first, but I'd also be more inclined to patronize these places if they tone down the cold florescent lighting and bright plastic surfaces.