LONDON: McDonald’s, the global QSR, is pursuing experiments with premium offers in the shape of a high-end Kensington “luxury” restaurant and “barista coffee” in the West End.

The news that McDonald’s was adopting speciality coffee options was jarring. After all, the company’s advertising around coffee in the UK has focused on the simplicity of its coffee offer compared with the paralysing complexity of the Starbucks or independent coffee shop menus.

However, new product development and the reality of London’s consumers trump a creative angle, even if it is slightly embarrassing. “Coffee drinkers are our most frequent customers and people may be surprised to know that we are second in this market,” said UK CEO Paul Pomroy in a statement.

Meanwhile, as speciality coffee moves into the mainstream, McDonald’s must follow the demand and retain its market share. According to a report by Allegra (via Eater London), the UK’s coffee market represents some £4 billion in sales. McDonald’s move is necessary.

Over in West London, the QSR giant is experimenting with an extension of the table service offer. Now you can book a table at the brand’s first reservation-only restaurant on High Street Kensington.

The move is a publicity stunt to launch the new Signature Collection and will feature a host of fine dining clichés: white gloves, velvet and diamond-studded cutlery. Judging by the quantity of reports, the effort has worked, gaining large amounts of coverage.

The UK has emerged as something of a golden market for McDonald’s. In its Q2 earnings announcement, international sales growth in the UK and France outshone the company’s core US market, suggesting that the combination of innovation and pragmatism is working on the bottom line.

Sourced from Eater London, McDonald’s, CNBC; additional content by WARC staff