In recent years, as customers have gotten sick of fast-food classics like inexpensive burgers and fries, businesses are experimenting with new tactics to stir up sales -- one being coffee drinks. From McDonald's pushing McCafe deals and Chick-fil-A adding specialty-grade coffee to the menu, the chains are doubling down on the caffeine fixes. And it may not be a bad strategy. In 2014, research-consulting firm Technomic reported that cafes are the fastest-growing segment in the fast-food sector, with sales up 9 percent from the previous year. But can fast-food chains measure up to brands focused on coffee? We wanted to find out.
Entrepreneur decided to put the chains to a test with a blind iced-coffee taste test. Nine members of the Entrepreneur team acted as testers, sampling brews from three fast-food and convenience brands (Burger King, McDonald's and 7-Eleven), two giant coffee chains, (Dunkin' Donuts and both Starbucks' cold-brew and traditional iced coffee) and one specialty chain (New York City-based Culture Espresso). It is important to keep in mind, the testers aren't coffee-tasting pros -- and the process was informal to say the least.
The results: When it comes to iced drinks, coffee chains don't always know what is best. In fact, some fast-food chains actually have a leg up on the competition.
Here's the rankings -- out of five stars -- from best to worst.