When McDonald's spinoff CosMc's opened last month outside Chicago, the drive-thru-only concept appeared to be a smash hit.
Now, recent data shows the "small-format, beverage-led" establishment saw more than double the number of visitors than a typical McDonald's location would chainwide in December 2023, according to business insights platform Placer.ai.
"Placer’s data suggests that CosMc’s saw more than double the number of visits that a typical McDonald’s saw chainwide during December 2023 despite being open only since Dec. 7 and more than triple the number of visits per square foot (given CosMc’s smaller, roughly 2,500-square-feet footprint)," Placer.ai said in a report published Jan. 6.
"However, it’s also worth noting that CosMc’s visitation numbers would likely have been much higher if the location had additional capacity to satisfy the overwhelming demand."
FILE - The first CosMc's drive-thru is open on Dec. 8, 2023, in Bolingbrook. CosMc's is the new takeout-only mini-chain by McDonald's. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
CosMc's pilot restaurant is located in Bolingbrook, Illinois. The restaurant was so popular during its opening week local police were enlisted to direct traffic around the building.
At roughly 2,500 square feet, CosMc's is much smaller than a typical McDonald's store, which on average ranges between 4,000 and 4,500 square feet. However, the smaller floor plan makes sense for CosMc's business model, serving beverages and small snacks rather than meals like a traditional McDonald's.
The menu features four "Signature Galactic Boosts" (caffeinated fruity drinks); iced teas; lemonades; slushes; frappes; and a plethora of coffee drinks. There are also breakfast food options, including a spicy queso and creamy avocado tomatillo sandwich; filled donuts called McPops; savory hash brown bites; and pretzel bites.
The Bolingbrook store is so far the only CosMc's open in the U.S., but McDonald's has plans to open about 10 more pilot locations in Texas before the end of 2024.
FILE - A Chai Latte, a spicy queso sandwich, some mcpops, and savory hash brown bites from CosMc's drive-thru in Bolingbrook, Illinois on Jan. 17, 2024. (Matt Schwerin for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Business was booming when Placer.ai visited, with the report noting "roughly 80 vehicles" were waiting in line upon arrival, which required the use of a separate parking lot at a nearby shopping center.
"Customers order from dynamic menu boards, and cashless payment devices are used to expedite the payment process. Visitors wait at the menu board until their order is ready, and then pickup windows are assigned when the order is ready," the report said.
Online ordering is not yet available at CosMc's, which may contribute to the long wait times in the restaurant's four drive-thru lanes.
However, the CosMc's website says that feature is "coming soon!"
McDonald's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Placer.ai report noted McDonald's previous attempts to differentiate its coffee business with its McCafe menu and standalone locations have faced difficulty in competition with brands like Starbucks.
"CosMc's is interesting from this perspective, as it may allow the company to build a brand more naturally and stand out with a younger audience (which appears to be working)," the report said.