Coffee A Mcrisky Business

Scranton Times:

Don Thompson is a man of science, an electrical engineer who once designed radar jamming systems, but recently, his biggest problem was a simple piece of cheese.
risky

McDonald’s most popular U.S. sandwich, its $1 double cheeseburger, was barely profitable for its franchisees. And as head of McDonald’s U.S. operations, it was Mr. Thompson’s job to find a solution that wouldn’t alienate cash-strapped consumers.

The answer: Raise the double cheeseburger’s price to $1.19, but also launch a new double cheeseburger, with less cheese, for $1.

The great cheeseburger compromise appears to have worked, and it’s exactly the type of innovation that has kept Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. on a roll, despite an ugly economy, analysts said.

Now, the 46-year-old Mr. Thompson has an even bigger challenge: Successfully completing the rollout of one of the fast-food giant’s biggest — and riskiest — U.S. product launches, the McCafe specialty coffee offensive.

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