McDonald’s CosMc’s Rockets to Success

CosMcs

Drive-Through-Only Restaurant Draws Younger Crowd and Surges Past Expectations

Younger customers have helped the first CosMc’s restaurant get off to a roaring-good start. McDonald’s had announced plans for the beverage-centric spinoff last summer, and its first site opened Dec. 7 in Bolingbrook, Ill., near McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Chicago. Later this year, McDonald’s plans to launch nine more CosMc’s, which are drive-through-only restaurants; the concept has no dining room.  

In its first month of operation, the CosMc’s site served twice as many customers as a typical McDonald’s within the chain, according to a CNN report that cited statistics from Placer.ai. (Placer.ai utilizes data from mobile devices to keep tabs on customers’ visits to particular sites.) Worldwide, the McDonald’s chain has more than 40,200 full-size, full-menu restaurants, according to Zippia.com.

Extreme Demand 

RJ Hottovy of Placer.ai noted that the CosMc’s location sometimes fills its drive-through lanes, with customers’ vehicles spilling over into a separate parking lot. “We saw quite a bit of demand,” Hottovy said in the CNN report. “There were so many people in the drive-through lane that if they had more capacity, the traffic numbers would have been a lot higher.” The firm’s research also indicated that CosMc’s customer base skewed toward 22- to 29-year-olds.

The CNN report emphasized that the customer numbers alone, while impressive, don’t tell the whole story. The golden lining is the supremely efficient use of space. CosMc’s delivered three times as many visits per square foot than a typical McDonald’s restaurant. CosMc’s requires only about 2,500 square feet, while the traditional McDonald’s model is 4,000 to 4,500 square feet.

The Menu and More

Named for a relatively obscure 1980s McDonald’s character, CosMc’s apparently hopes to siphon traffic away from Starbucks. Its specialty drinks include the Churro Frappe, Popping Pear Slush and S’mores Cold Brew, along with frappes, specialty iced teas and lemonades. The menu also includes cookies, pretzel bites and Egg McMuffins.

“I think this really is a test-and-learn concept, one to track a younger audience and test menu innovations,” Hottovy said in the CNN article. “If nothing else, CosMc’s is creating a tremendous amount of buzz and attracting new customers. It’s just one location for now, so it doesn’t look like it’s cannibalizing McDonald’s at this point but bringing in incremental visitors – the group that wasn’t coming into McDonald’s as much.”

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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