TORONTO — Commuters at Toronto’s Union Station were treated to the first-ever standalone McCafé in Canada this morning. The new concept, located in the recently renovated York Concourse, is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to build on its reputation as a leading coffee brand.
“This is the next chapter in our brand evolution as we put the café in McCafé,” says Anne Parks, director of Menu Management at McDonald’s Corporation.
Catherine Crozier, head of McCafé Platform (Business) at McDonald’s Canada says Toronto was the perfect spot to launch the new concept. “This has been designed for the busy, on-the-go workday adult consumer — the commuter — so it was the perfect opportunity for us to go in with this new express café.”
The standalone concept features a smaller footprint, allowing the brand to expand into high-density urban locations. Each McCafé will feature an on-the-go menu where consumers can quickly grab a cup of coffee and snack, available across all dayparts, with selected items freshly prepared and baked in-house.
“We have a whole new range of menu items with pricing that is very competitive to what’s in the market and offers great value for the quality,” says Parks. “There are some familiar items, but the menu design is really a mash of foods that you can get in a true café experience, such as the croissant with brie and honey, which is made to order, and also the grab-and-go items such as the Sriracha pulled beef — the ingredients are very on-trend and what our guests are telling us they’re looking for.”
The menu also features ready-made salads such as the Quinoa Edamame Mandarin Salad and the Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Mixed Veggies. The hot beverage menu has also been elevated with location-specific offerings such as The Ghirardelli Mocha — a blend of Ghirardelli chocolate, chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream.
The standalone concept was born in July 2011, “so it’s been a journey to get here,” says Crozier. “The time is right — we have built up so much momentum and demand [with McCafé]; we’ve more than tripled our servings, more than doubled our market share and we’ve launched the other categories including our new McCafé Bakery across the country, so the time was really right to branch out and we know we have a scalable concept.”
Designed with the busy commuter in mind, McCafé standalones will feature self-ordering kiosks, mobile device charging stations and free Wi-Fi. A second location is scheduled to open in Toronto’s Exchange Tower at First Canadian Place in January 2016 and will feature seating for 19 guests.