The point here is that they're trying to reposition themselves in the market so as to recapture a fair share.
As for countering McDonalds I think they stand a good chance, as McDonald's coffee is acrid and biting, yet StarBuck's coffee is only slightly more mild.
Seriously! !!! Gah! WHEN will American coffee producers discover most of our tea drinkers are comprised of those who would never deign to answer the coffee surveys of the 80s (do you like it super roasted, exceptionally roasted, or ashes?).
Hint to Starbucks, based on a decade of time overseas:
1. Don't chase your market preferences. SET them.
2. Your market preferences are MILD coffees. Lots of caffeine, yes, but easy on the stomach! (no dark roasted, save for those who love ulcers).
3. Your pastries SUCK. Take a clue from Ghillies, in Blacksburg, Virginia, right next to Virginia Tech. NONE of their breakfast dishes suck.
PS: As simple as my advice is, somone should be paying me about $100 an hour, or at least $400k this next 12 months for the advice I could give them to help them earn millions....