Maureen Morrison writes at that McDonald’s has had coffee on its menu since the early ’80s, with as many as 60 different coffee blends being used in the restaurants. But then McDonald’s starting developing a long-term strategy to integrate coffee and related beverages into its core menu.

In 2006, the fast feeder rolled out premium-blend coffee in its restaurants. The following year, it introduced iced coffee, and in May 2009 rolled out McCafé. In July, McDonald’s expanded McCafé with frozen smoothies and frappes.

Thanks to McCafé, coffee has played a larger part in McDonald’s sales. During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Chief Operating Officer Don Thompson said coffee percentages in the U.S. have grown to more than 6%, from about 2% in 2004.

The move into premium coffee illustrates McDonald’s ability to reinvent itself and appeal to consumers across the spectrum — and boost sales in new dayparts.

“As you look at how customers use our restaurants today, and how eating out and how habits have changed, gone is traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, even though we sell the majority of our coffee products at breakfast,” said McDonald’s USA spokeswoman Danya Proud, who worked with Sofia Therios, director-marketing, McDonald’s USA, the lead marketing person for the launch of the McCafé beverages. “Some of these other iced beverages really have started to pick up mid-morning and late afternoon.”

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