McDonald’s Is Opening a New Retro-Themed Spinoff Chain: CosMc’s

The restaurant concept will be beverage-focused.

December 08, 2023

Photo by: Photo courtesy of McDonald's

Photo courtesy of McDonald's

The rumors are true: McDonald’s is moving beyond the tried and true and launching a spinoff chain that is (almost) entirely new.

The fast food giant confirmed on December 6 in an investment call that it will open the first location of its new CosMc’s restaurant chain in Bolingbrook, Illinois, this week. The limited test run will expand with the opening of more CosMc’s locations — nine of them in Texas — by the end of 2024. Then, after a year of data analysis, McDonald’s will decide it will expand to still more U.S. locations.

So what else should you know about the new chain?

The Concept: McDonald’s has described CosMc’s as a “new small-format, beverage-led concept” that is “inspired by nostalgia and powered by a menu of bold, refreshing beverages and tasty treats.” It’s basically being positioned as the kind of place you’d swing by for a snack. “At CosMc’s, we’re exploring how we might solve the 3pm slump by lifting humans up with every sip,” the brand says.

The Menu: The menu board the chain has shared ahead of launch features lots of unusual new beverage items and a limited number of quick pick-me-up treats, some new, some familiar to McDonald’s fans. Sweet or savory? You actually have both options. Food items include Spicy Queso Sandwich, Savory Hash Brown Bites and Pretzel Bites with dipping sauces, on the savory side, as well as sweet treats such as a Blueberry Lemon Cookie Sundae and Caramel Fudge Brownies.

“CosMc’s menu is rooted in beverage exploration, with bold and unexpected flavor combinations, vibrant colors and functional boosts,” the brand says. “You’ll see a range of specialty lemonades and teas, indulgent blended beverages and cold coffee – think Sour Cherry Energy Slush, Tropical Spiceade and S’mores Cold Brew.” Drinks will be customizable with options such as boba, syrups and energy and Vitamin C shots.

The Name: It’s actually a throwback to a McDonald’s character in TV and print ads for the chain from the late ’80s and early ’90s. A McDonald’s fan wiki page describes CosMc as a male “alien from outer space who craves for McDonald’s.”

The Experience: CosMc’s will offer a “uniquely seamless digital and Drive Thru experience,” McDonald’s say, featuring dynamic menu boards and cashless payment devices to speed up the ordering process. Once your order is ready, you’ll be assigned a Drive Thru pickup window to make pickup smooth as well.

Where You Can Try It: In addition to the debut Bolingbrook, Illinois, location, by the end of 2024, 10 more CosMc’s pilot locations are anticipated in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas, metro areas.

If the return of Grimace has taught us anything, it’s that McDonald’s fans have an appetite for retro.

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