In case you're not following the restaurant industry wars, the big battle right now isn't between McDonald's and Burger King. It's between McDonald's and Starbucks.
McDonald's has been deliberately chipping away at Starbucks' customer base by offering its own line of espresso drinks and premium coffees.
Starbucks responded by broadening its breakfast menu to include Egg McMuffin-like sandwiches, and, just recently, by introducing Pairings -- essentially, a value menu without numbers.
If the war between McDonald's and Starbucks escalates further -- and that is a distinct possibility in our current economy, as both companies are forced to bring in traffic -- I wonder what ideas the companies will pilfer from each other next. While competition is good, I fear we're not too far away from a press release that says:
SEATTLE -- Starbucks introduced a family of cartoon characters today designed to help familiarize its products with young consumers. The three main Starbucks characters are Buzzy McCaffeine, a goodnatured clown who seems sluggish in the morning until he has his first caramel mocha latte; The mischevious beanburgler, who is foiled in all his attempts to steal other people's Starbucks drinks; and the Grinnace, an amorphous character who promotes the benefits of delicious Frappucinos.