TikTok Can't Get Enough Of This McDonald's Vs. Starbucks Sign War

The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on fast food restaurants. Sure, they've done better than independent eateries, as The Wall Street Journal reported, but they have faced some major challenges: a huge drop-off in business at the start of the pandemic, and difficulty finding workers after lockdowns were lifted (via Franchise Times). COVID-19 case counts have gone up and down like a roller coaster over the past year and a half, causing restaurants to close, open, and close again. McDonald's corporate officers met with franchise-owners in August, to talk about closing dining rooms yet again because of the surging delta variant (via Nation's Restaurant News).

Given that lockdown rules vary from state to state and even community to community, it's hard to know whether your local McDonald's or Starbucks is open or not. You would think, in these trying times, the big fast food chains might try to support each other — or at least not hit a competitor when it's down. But in the town of Jeffersonville, Indiana, where a McDonald's and a Starbucks are right next door to each other, the two rival chains have started a TikTok sign war.

McDonald's fired the first shot in the sign war; Starbucks fired back

The Jeffersonville Starbucks had its own TikTok account (which has since been deleted), populated with good-natured videos about barista life: recovering from 27 straight Frappuccino orders, or buying shopping carts full of milk at a Walmart to restock the cafe. In a TikTok video that's no longer available, the employee who stars in most every Jeffersonville Starbucks TikTok looks out their store's window to see that the McDonald's next door had put this message on its electronic sign: "Starbucks closed? Try McCafé today!!" A moment later, the employee sits in a chair with a determined look, and text comes up on the video that reads, "Alright McDonald's. It's on."

The now-deleted Starbucks TikTok account posted Part 2 of the McDonald's-Starbucks sign wars on October 11. The employee pulled a sandwich board sign out of their car with three artfully drawn Frappuccinos: a Caramel Ribbon Crunch, a Mocha Cookie Crumble, and a Strawberry Funnel Cake. The sign said, "McDonald's ice cream machine 'broken'? Try our Frappuccino." As the video ended, the superimposed text read, "Shots have been fired."

McDonald's had the last laugh in the sign wars ... for now

Part 1 of the Jeffersonville McDonald's-Starbucks sign wars on TikTok had been viewed almost 16 million times. Part 2 was at 1 million views and counting. The Starbucks employee who fired the return shot at McDonald's may have gotten the idea for their sign's message from commenters on the first video. The most-liked comment on the video said, "Ice cream machine broken AGAIN, try a Frappuccino." Another witty commenter suggested, "Starbucks is closed, but no coffee is better than McDonald's coffee." To be fair, some commenters were on McDonald's side. "Y'all hating on McDonald's but they lowkey slaps," one commenter said. (Translating from Gen Z: "Y'all are showing McDonald's disrespect, but they are great in a way that may not seem obvious to you.")

The Jeffersonville McDonald's got the last laugh ... for now. Turns out the other side of the sign war has a TikTok account, too. In the McDonald's TikTok video, employees first demonstrated that their ice cream machine works just fine. They then brazenly stole Starbucks' sign in broad daylight. The video shows two Starbucks employees busting out of the cafe's entrance and giving chase.

We have a feeling this war is just getting started.