McDonald’s has erected a billboard in sight of Starbucks headquarters declaring, “four bucks is dumb.” If Dunkin’ Donuts’ taste test commercials were the schoolyard equivalent of blowing spitballs at the coffee giant from afar, then the latest from McDonald’s is like pulling a wedgie. Starbucks employees driving northbound can see the billboard on their way into the city.

Another billboard slogan jabs, “large is the new grande.” The two phrases are displayed on 140 billboards in Western Washington, some of them near Starbucks cafes.

“The billboard placement was done because we picked high visibility locations,” said Alan Finkelstein, who owns four McDonald’s in King County. “We really wanted to point out that ordering an espresso at McDonald’s is quick and simple. Small, medium and large. It’s easy.”

While the coffee wars received much media and Wall Street trumpeting this year, Starbucks has been mostly silent, maintaining that its customer base is different.

Starbucks could fire back that not all of its coffee costs four bucks, or that extra cents help pay for health care for baristas. (A 12-ounce cup of brew starts at $1.40 at Starbucks, a penny more than the average McDonald’s brew price. A small McDonald’s latte costs $1.99 compared with $2.45 to $3.15 at Starbucks.) Instead, it is fighting back in a more subtle way. Executives have hinted that Starbucks is taking the high road. “We’re not going to get into that conversation. We’re not going to get sucked into the, ‘My coffee is better than your coffee,’ price point type of coffee conversation. We’re going to play at a much higher level.”

I never understood the pretentiousness of Starbucks. And yeah, 4 bucks is dumb.

  1. ECA says:

    point 1..
    45-50…GOOD for you…thats a GOOD cup..
    Avg size of coffee cup is 6oz…

    point 2..
    Umm, do you think the person is roasting 1lb at a time?? And it only takes a few 1 minute, and is PROBABLY many cases..
    So the person/machine is doing ALLOT more then a few pounds in 1 hour..

    Even at $1 per pound after processing and roasting, and so forth… or $7 per pound..
    You paid $5 for 1/40th of a pound of coffee..
    its still getting $200 for that cup of coffee, for what PROBABLY is worth $1 at most.

  2. Brittanie2116 says:

    Good Morning everyone. Hi, I am one of your friendly Starbucks baristas. Im sorry that I go to work everyday to make your day better. Im sorry that with every greeting I give out each day I honestly mean it. I sorry that I will go out of my way to make that simple drink you ordered the best thing you have tasted and if it isnt I will remake it till it is. Do you know what makes my work day worth while? Just one extremely satisfied customer. But I am human, I have wants and fears, good days and bad days. Im sorry if one day you walk into Starbucks and I only greet you half-heartedly instead with the comfort of an old friend. And Im sorry if I offend when I repeated your order as a Double Tall Sugar-Free Vanilla Soy No foam Latte, when you ordered a small vanilla latte with soy, no foam, and an extra shot. Oh yeah and sugar free. Ionly repeated it that way so the barista on the bar could mark the drink and make it.

  3. nono says:

    McDonald’s is dumb.

    Billboards saying “large is the new grande,” wtf?

    If you’re going to complain about something, shouldn’t you at least complain about the right thing? Something like “large is the new venti?”

    Btw love #83′s comment.

    As I love McD’s apple pies and french fries. Their ad campaigns though and general attitude, hey not so much.

    Another thing about the sizing at Starbucks… I find it MUCH more pretentious to go in a place and rename the sizes your own damn self than to just *order from the menu,* regardless of what you think of it.

    Kettle 1, Pot 0.

  4. I heard today starbucks is laying off 6,700 people and closing 300 stores..

  5. christine weaver says:

    I heard today starbucks is laying off 6,700 people and closing 300 stores…

  6. lsmall287 says:

    McDonalds latte vs. Starbuck lattee is really not even an argument. McDonalds latte tastes like crap. I believe it is totally worth the price difference to get Starbucks