TODAY

TODAY   |  March 31, 2014

McDonald’s counters Taco Bell with free coffee

McDonald’s and Taco Bell are going toe to toe in the latest fight for your business, with McDonald’s offering free coffee over the next two weeks. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports.

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>>> breakfast this morning? two fast food giants mcdonald 's and taco bell are going toe to toe in the latest fight for your business.

>> i'm ronald mcdonald jr. and this is ronald mcdonald iii.

>> in the new commercial, taco bell finds a few dozen guys named ronald mcdonald and gets them to profess their loves for breakfast burritos.

>> i'm ronald mcdonald --

>> and i love taco bell 's new breakfast.

>> it's the latest punch in the high-stakes battle for fast food breakfast supremacy.

>> taco bell is taking a stick and poking the 800- pound gorilla .

>> in response to mocking the mascot, a counter punch . starting today, mcdonald 's is giving away free small cups of coffee at breakfast hours for two weeks at participating locations. and isn't clowning around taking to twitter and listing mayor mccheese himself as well as the original ronald.

>> right now, mcdonald 's is the number one breakfast seller. could that change? possibly. but taco bell or anyone else is really going to have to spend billions of dollars to get there.

>> that's because for decades mcdonald 's has been the undisputed champion of the quick, inexpensive breakfast. breakfast is also one of the few growing sectors of the fast food market. it's no surprise in recent years that other high profile challengers like starbucks and dunkin donuts have launched and extended their breakfast options. but industry experts say taco bell 's new campaign is different because it's personal. for "today," craig melvin, nbc news, new york.

>> volunteer for a taste test.

>> i know.

>> the debate goes on about the best fast food story. hash browns or waffle taco?

>> i love those.

>> egg mcmuffin .