McDonald's Testing Flavor Shots To Spike Interest In Beverages

McDonald's is testing flavor shots as well as different kinds of bottled drinks in two markets, hoping to excite consumers and appeal to the convenience of having resealable bottles with which to remain on the go.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive during the tests, which began last year, in Kansas City and Bryan-College Station, Texas. But a company spokesperson says there's no telling when or if the flavor shots or other products like Dasani, Mountain Dew, Powerade, Gatorade, Lipton Green Tea, Red Bull and even PepsiCo's Mountain Dew and Arizona bottled tea will roll out nationally at McDonald's.

"It's up to the customer," says Bill Whitman for the company. "We don't project an end date."

Whitman says the world's largest fast-food chain wants to become a beverage destination.

"Anecdotally, we know our customers go to convenience stores for beverages," he tells Marketing Daily. "They go because the convenience of having a beverage in a resealable bottle is advantageous, and we appreciate that. This is an opportunity for us to provide a type of convenience."

In addition to the new types of beverages available in bottles in those markets, where the company is advertising them via local TV, McDonald's is testing flavor shots in vanilla, berry blue, cherry and sugar-free cherry.

"Our customers like to customize their favorite drinks," says Whitman, adding that consumers are trying all manner of combinations.

This strategy appears to be working for Sonic Drive-In, based in Oklahoma City, which has long offered a variety of beverages such as Cherry Limeades and Vanilla Cokes. It also offers flavor shots.

It was reported last week that Coca-Cola has developed a "Bev-olution" dispenser that can create as many as 50 different drinks and may arrive in U.S. fast-food chains in October.