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    Espresso's Almost Ready

    McDonald's COO: U.S. espresso drink rollout to be completed by mid-2009.

    NEW YORK -- All of McDonald's Corp.'s U.S. locations should be able to offer espresso drinks by the middle of next year, with a new line of smoothies and frappes on all menus by 2010, the company said this week, as reported by The Associated Press.

    At an investor conference, McDonald's chief operating officer, Ralph Alvarez, said the chain is working to renovate its drive-thrus to accommodate making the new drinks. "We're going through the process of making those changes," he explained.

    The espresso drinks, which include lattes and mochas offered with a choice of milk and flavorings, are being added to McDonald's menus across the country. The drinks began appearing early this year after being tested in more than 800 stores. The chain said in November they would expand the drinks to all U.S. stores by early 2009.

    McDonald's branched out into espresso drinks after launching a premium drip coffee that proved to be a strong seller, according to the AP report.

    Alvarez said the new smoothies and frappes will be offered once the espresso drinks have been added to all locations by the middle of next year. He suggested it may take until 2010 for those drinks to come to all locations. "It's a staggered rollout," he said.

    The chain is hoping customers will begin coming to McDonald's specifically to buy beverages and not just have them as a complement to a meal, Alvarez noted.

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