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The First CosMc’s

by John Wroblewski

Jan 31, 2024

Photo courtesy of David Vox Mullen.

Last December McDonald’s opened its first spin-off, CosMc’s, in Bolingbrook, Illinois, about 45 minutes southwest of Chicago. While there are plans to open 10 more locations this year, Bolingbrook remains the lone one in the country.

Located next to a previously existing McDonald’s, the 2,500-square-foot CosMc’s is a drive-through-only restaurant. It features a lot of beverages but an otherwise limited menu, with several items already available at McDonald’s. There are several energy slushy options, a couple new breakfast sandwiches and a few sides.

For the first couple weeks, the lines had wait times of more than four hours, with early reports indicating more than double the number of visits to a typical McDonald’s in December. Reporting agencies also suggest the number was somewhat limited by serving capacity, which should be increased with online ordering coming soon. CosMc’s was particularly popular for the 22–29 year age group. CosMc’s, named after a quickly forgotten McDonald’s character from the 1980s, seems to be going after that younger audience, a group visiting McDonald’s less often. Some see CosMc’s targeting the Starbucks crowd.

Cosmcs

Photo courtesy of David Vox Mullen.

With the opening hype gone, my friend and I went for the experience. While I rarely eat at McDonald’s, I wanted to see why there was so much buzz.

With four drive-through lanes, our wait was only a couple minutes, plus a couple more after ordering. I ordered the creamy avocado tomatillo sandwich and Tommy got a spicy queso sandwich. We also had pretzel bites.

I gave it a good review, while Tommy’s opinion was slightly less favorable. We agreed the new items could be incorporated into the regular McDonald’s menu, but the concept is a quick, contactless, drive-through experience.

It’s too soon to tell if it has lasting appeal. The curiosity factor boosted numbers, but the next few months will tell a more complete story.

— John Wroblewski, online writer

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