Starbucks cafes now exceed McDonald’s, but are there too many?

Jun 8, 2018, 3:00 PM
Starbucks peta...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

In the great coffee wars, Starbucks is now outpacing McDonald’s. After opening 2,000 new cafes nationwide in the last three years, they currently number is 14,300 U.S. locations according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s just a few hundred higher than McDonald’s, in case anyone is keeping count.

“What I found shocking is that this now just became news,” said KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “Because I would have guessed that they crested a number of years ago. It seemed then that there were three on every corner, and now it feels like there are only two on every corner.”

RELATED: Is Starbucks’ new bathroom policy unfair to paying customers?

While it may be surprising to hear that you’re more likely to spot Starbucks’ nautical siren logo than the Golden Arches, both are still far outnumbered by Subway. They sling sandwiches at approximately 25,800 U.S. locations, nearly as much as McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. Not that many people buy coffee at Subway.

The news comes on the heels of an eventful few months for the coffee behemoth. They recently closed all their locations for racial bias training after a controversial incident involving two customers. Starbucks has opened all their bathrooms to non-paying customers, meaning there are now about 14,300 public bathrooms. And the company also announced that CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down.

And this week, the company said it’s raising the price of regular drip coffee by about 10 to 20 cents. Prices for more elaborate drinks like iced coffees and lattes will remain the same.

Starbucks may be experiencing slowed growth due to over-saturation

Since the country is by no means lacking in places to get coffee, this may be a sign of over-saturation. Starbucks shares declined 8 percent in the past year, and numerous analysts have argued that the company isn’t necessarily reaching new customers, but potentially causing individual locations to draw traffic away from each other, and ultimately cannibalizing their own sales.

“The question is: have they reached a saturation point?” Tangney said. “One of the people who was mostly aggressively pushing opening new stores was none other than Howard Schultz. The fact that he’s stepping down may indicate that they may be retrenching a bit.”

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 3pm for The Tom and Curley Show.

Tom and Curley Show

Tom and Curley

Tom and Curley Show

John Curley wrestles with the idea of deer hunting

John Curley is supposed to go hunting for a deer tomorrow, but he's having a hard time convincing himself it's a good idea for the deer.
22 hours ago
Last Duel...
Tom Tangney

Poor Marguerite’s story saves ‘The Last Duel’

Tom Tangney says, ultimately, The Last Duel is a proto-feminist take on the Middle Ages with Marguerite's take that brings the film into focus.
11 days ago
James Bond...
Tom Tangney

Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie comes full-circle

The 25th installment in the James Bond movie franchise may be titled "No Time to Die," but "Too Much Time to Die" may be more fitting.
19 days ago
Tom and Curley Show

Kraken CEO: Climate Pledge Arena is the ‘most beautiful arena in the world’

Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Kraken, told KIRO Radio's Tom & Curley Show about what fans can expect for the upcoming season and at the new arena.
20 days ago
segregation, homeless affordable housing, apartments, housing...
Tom and Curley Show

Rep for landlords says Seattle needs to focus on ‘real solutions’ to fix housing crisis

Brett Waller, director of government affairs for the Washington Multifamily Housing Association, explains the recent housing bills in Seattle.
28 days ago
Tom and Curley Show

Tom & Curley Show interrupted by a squirrel

In the middle of reading letters from listeners on Monday, John Curley was interrupted by his dogs bringing a squirrel inside his cabin.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Starbucks cafes now exceed McDonald’s, but are there too many?