THE BLOG
02/12/2013 03:29 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

Burger King Revamps Its Coffee Again

Burger King has coffee jitters. First it poured its own BK Joe brand, then it jumped to grounds from Starbucks subsidiary Seattle's Best. Now it's switching to Smooth Roast, a 100% Latin American arabica-bean blend custom ground for it by Seattle's Best. The new platform includes brewed coffee, iced coffee and, for the first time, lattés (beginning in March), which moves Burger King a bit closer to McDonald's McCafé menu.

A Burger King spokesperson says that its roughly 8,400 U.S. stores will install specialty coffee machines by mid-March in order to execute the espresso-based latté beverages. The company declined to disclose the cost of the equipment. But the spokesperson did say that the U.S. specialty-coffee equipment is not being supplied by Nestlé Professional, with which Burger King reached a deal last year for specialty coffee and equipment in Latin America.

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McDonald's, meanwhile, is moving its coffee program into the retail sector. Last year it began selling bagged, whole-bean coffee at selected McDonald's restaurants in Canada. Wendy's has put its breakfast rollout on hold but still is expected to expand the Red Roasters coffee platform that is a part of the breakfast package. Denny's was the most recent of many restaurant chains to upgrade and brand its coffee program, unveiling its new Diner Roast coffee platform.

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