NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Burger King is looking to steal market share from fast-food competitors in the morning hours by offering free coffee.

Burger King launched an enhanced breakfast platform this fall in U.S. and Canadian locations that includes new menu products and Seattle's Best coffee. The move was part of an effort to better compete with McDonald's ( MCD), which itself has been stealing morning business from Starbucks ( SBUX) with its successful McCafe offerings.

Now Burger King says it will offer patrons free 12-ounce cups of coffee every Friday in November during breakfast hours, and customers don't even have to buy anything to get the freebie.

Burger King, which recently agreed to a multibillion dollar private equity buyout , expects to give away as many as 4 million free cups of coffee, beverage items it normally sells for $1 apiece.

>>Burger King Agrees to Buyout

Starbucks said late Thursday its quarterly revenue grew by 17.2% to $2.8 billion, slightly higher than the $2.77 billion analysts were looking for. Global comparable same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, grew 8%. Global traffic increased 5%.

>>Starbucks Percolates on Earnings Beat

McDonald's also beat quarterly expectations , saying last month that its nationwide promotion of McCafe Frappes and Smoothies, plus the everyday affordability of its Dollar Menu, helped boost sales in the quarter.

>> McDonald's Beats on Smoothie Sales Gain

In other Starbucks news, TheStreet recently reported that, likely as part of an overall strategy to differentiate itself further from the increasingly popular McCafe offerings at McDonald's ( MCD), Starbucks wants its baristas to slow down, preparing just two drinks at a time at most, and to take more care in preparing each beverage.

Baristas are being asked to steam milk for only one drink at a time instead of a whole pitcher for multiple drinks, as well as rinse pitchers after each use, remain at the espresso bar at all times and use one espresso machine instead of two.
Starbucks


The move sparked a debate among readers of TheStreet who voted overwhelmingly that they need their coffee as quickly as possible and would stop going to Starbucks altogether if lines get any longer. Just 23.5% of voters said that yes, the Starbucks assembly line gets their order wrong too often and they are willing to wait a little longer for the perfectly prepared mochachino.

>>Starbucks Should Pick Up the Pace, Poll Says

Starbucks maintained that its new drink-making protocol will lead to more consistent beverages made in a time-efficient manner, and that the drinks will be fresher and hotter, even if some customers will have to wait longer for certain drinks like no-foam lattes.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @miriamsmarket.

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