McDonald's offers free mochas on Mondays

As McDonald's continues to push its way into the specialty drinks market, the fast food chain will offer free mochas and iced mochas every Monday through August 3.

From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., customers can receive an 8-ounce mocha or 7-ounce iced mocha at McDonald's restaurants nationwide. 

It looks like McDonald's is trying to follow up it's early summer advertising blitz with this promotion to keep sales climbing.  Sales increased by 2.8% last year, which was below expectations, and the chain only sells an average of 50 specialty drinks in each restaurant a day.

McDonald's officials are optimistic:

"This is one of the largest sampling initiatives we've taken on as a company," U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Neil Golden said in a statement. 

Giving away samples fits with McDonald's new-product strategy, said Steve West, an analyst in St. Louis at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. McDonald's has given away coffees on a smaller scale, in markets such as Chicago.

McDonald's executives have said the new drinks, which they expect to generate more than $1 billion in annual sales, have so far exceeded expectations.

But will coffee drinkers be convinced enough to switch from favorite chains, such as Starbucks? And how much of an influence will the recession have on the preferences of coffee drinkers?