McDonald's steps up its ongoing onslaught against America's coffee specialist brands this month when it offers customers a free McCafé Mocha every Monday from July 13 to August 3.

At "participating locations" (the dreaded loophole) nationwide, the Golden Arches will serve up a free 7-ounce iced mocha or 8-ounce hot mocha for four Mondays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

You won't need a coupon, so as long as the harried staff stays on top of brewing, McD's should hopefully avoid the paperwork train wreck that marred earlier giveaways by Quiznos and KFC.


This freebie is the latest effort to teach customers about the chain's new caffeinated options. Sensing weakness from the Starbucks juggernaut, the chain launched its new McCafé concept nationwide in early May, budgeting a reported $100 million for its marketing. At the time, spokesmen promised that its newly expanded coffee-brewing services would entice customers to hang around for a while.

That makes me wonder if McDonald's is admitting that its restaurants have been repellent until now, but no matter -- a free sugary coffee is enough for me to wave away any misgivings for at least a month. Just hold the whipped cream and hold the syrup topping. McDonald's may call it a coffee beverage, but it's being loose with the term -- it's really a dessert. And getting it free is like a cherry on top.

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