CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
The renovated McDonald's on Beretania Street is scheduled to open its doors this Sunday, and will include the state's fourth McCafe, which offers specialty coffee and tea drinks. McDonald's plans to open 11 more McCafes this year, said a company official. CLICK FOR LARGE
McDonald's pushes ahead with McCafe expansion
The company sees McCafe as more than just answer to Starbucks
THE venerable Makiki McDonald's
will be brand new from the ground up when it opens for breakfast Sunday -- complete with a McCafe, its new, upscale coffee shop.
It will be the fourth one in Hawaii, following McCafe installations at McDonald's at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe and at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, as well as its Nimitz Highway location.
They are the tip of Hawaii's iceberg, as McDonald's plans 11 more McCafes this year, said Marketing Manager Melanie Okazaki. That will involve demolition and rebuilding or renovation of stores, possibly including the neighbor islands. The locations are not all defined, but company-owned and franchised stores will be in the mix, she said.
The Kamehameha Shopping Center outlet will get a McCafe, and "we are looking rebuilding our Keeaumoku location," she said.
The McCafe concept was introduced in Australia, and "we noticed that here in Hawaii, consumers enjoy their coffee.
They are very much coffee connoisseurs and we wanted to be part of that experience for them," said Okazaki. Hawaii McCafe locations serve Lion Coffee.
Hawaii and North Carolina are on the cutting edge of the new McCafe concept. Even trendy California doesn't have them yet. Nanny nanny boo boo.
At the same time, the company is making its restaurants "more contemporary and more comfortable for our customers," she said.
Both the MCBH and Pearl Harbor McCafes have been embraced by customers, who "tell us how much they enjoy being in a newly remodeled or refurbished restaurant. The atmosphere is very different and the comfort level increases because the environment is more relaxing and inviting," said Okazaki.
In Makiki, when a construction privacy wall was taken down yesterday, customers started gathering around the door to see if they could get in, she said.
But alas, the doors and drive-through don't open to the public until Sunday morning, though the exact time was not certain as of yesterday.
The Nimitz Highway McCafe is operating, but a grand opening is still in the planning stages.
A person on the go wanting a fancied-up cuppa joe needn't park and go inside, as McCafe items can also be ordered from the drive-through lane.
"There will be a menu on our drive-through menu board with a distinct McCafe look to it, so it will stand out from the rest of the menu ... so Mom can get what she wants and the kids can get what they want," she said.
How Mom explains to the kids that only mommies are allowed to have tuxedo brownies for breakfast is up to her.
McCafe could be seen as McDonald's answer to Starbucks' success, but there is more to it than that.
Breakfast and afternoon snack time are dayparts that are providing huge growth for the quick-service restaurant industry, according to a study released this week by New York-based NPD Group Inc.
Industry publications such as Nation's Restaurant News closely monitor the battling burger big-wigs and report extensively on each salvo.
McDonald's restaurants upscaled the "regular" coffee it serves at breakfast to premium, many locations offer dollar-items in the morning and it is nurturing the snack-time idea-seed in nationwide advertising featuring its Snack Wraps.
Arch-rival (get the pun?) Burger King announced in January it would introduce dollar menu items for breakfast, as well as another offering called Cheesy Tots, to be available all day. Wendy's and Hardee's also see boosting breakfast as boosting the bottom line, as does Taco Bell.
Also not known for burgers, Starbucks' warm breakfast sandwiches were available in only 225 restaurants last year, but now some 1,200 stores offer them, according to NRN.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com