Follow Me to Bubble Tea26 May 2012
Time for a business post! A couple days ago I teased on Twitter that big changes were coming to German McDonald's in the next couple of weeks. I was going to wait until the marketing started before going into detail, but now that the Handelsblatt newspaper has spilled the beans, it's OK to come out now.
The big one comes on June 11, when McDonald's starts selling bubble tea in McCafé. Bubble tea is a trend drink that originated in Taiwan and is fairly new in Europe. It's basically sweet tea with fruit syrup and tapioca "boba" pearls or flavored jellies. The bobas or jellies sink to the bottom of the cup and can be sucked up through the straw. With 2 sizes, 3 types of tea, 7 flavors, and 6 flavors of bobas and jellies, there are over 250 combinations possible. Bubble tea is sweet and certainly not low-calorie, but generally contains less sugar than soft drinks. There will be a coupon in the the June coupon booklet if you want to give it a try.
Bubble tea is the fastest growing segment of the fast food industry and is very popular for 13 to 20 year olds. Bubble tea shops generally import their ingredients. The jellies and bobas for McCafé Bubble Tea are produced in Germany especially for McDonald's and contain no additives. Bubble tea is a first for McDonald's in Europe (maybe worldwide?), and if it is successful here we're sure other countries will follow.
The second change is not so spectacular. Starting June 4 McDonald's will sell Brötchen for breakfast, three types of normal German Brötchen: Kaiser-, Korn and Laugenbrötchen, either with traditional condiments (butter, jam, honey, Nutella) or as a sandwich. Brötchen have been very successful for McDonald's Austria and we think they will be here, too. The marketing people call it "local relevance". We just think that if you want to sell breakfast in Germany, you have to sell what Germans eat for breakfast, so it's a change we welcome.
The other changes are already out: a new McDonald's Deutschland iPhone app with in-app couponing (starting with the June booklet, not exactly cutting edge anymore but it's a start) and new lower price-point "McDeal" menus that cost 3-something instead of 5- or 6-something like the "McMenüs".
That's a whole lot to learn and train the next three weeks, but hey, if we wanted jobs where each day is just like the day before, we'd be in a different business. :-)