As caffeine junkies looking for their evening fix were locked out of Starbucks during the company's three-hour nationwide training session Tuesday, many didn't have to look farther than some competing cafe down the street for free or discounted cups of joe.
Dunkin' Donuts proclaimed it "wants to ensure that no coffee lover is denied a delicious espresso-based beverage" when it announced it was slashing the price of its small lattes, cappuccinos and other coffee drinks for 99 cents for most of the day.
Yet spokeswoman Michelle King demurred when asked if it was a competitive jab at Starbucks Corp.
"We are offering this promotion today because there is an opportunity to reach a large number of coffee drinkers, as well as provide our own loyal customers with a great deal," King said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co., a small chain with four shops in Seattle, planned to give away free espresso drinks while the world's largest gourmet coffee retailer shut its doors.