McDonald's plans to install coffee bars to sell lattes and cappuccinos in every one of its U.S. restaurants this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The move would be an attempt to eat into the luxury coffee business of the global giant Starbucks.
The Journal based its report on internal McDonald's documents from 2007, which outline a plan to hire "baristas" at all of the burger chain's 14,000 U.S. outlets, complete with espresso machines at the front counters.
The documents forecast that the "barista" move could add $1 billion US to McDonald's annual sales of $21.6 billion US, the paper said.
A McDonald's Canada spokesman could not say if Canadian stores were also going to get coffee bars.
"Future plans are proprietary," Louis Payette told CBCNews.ca. "But we're watching closely the initiatives that are happening south of the border."
Payette noted that McDonald's launched a premium coffee blend in the Canadian market in 2003.
Starbucks shares have lost almost half their value in the past year, while McDonald's stock has gained more than 30 per cent. Starbucks has been fighting a tough battle with the fast-food chains — like McDonald's — for market share.
Late Monday, Starbucks announced it had replaced CEO Jim Donald with former CEO and chairman Howard Schultz, who served in the post from 1987 to 2000.