McDonald's to spend $317 million to upgrade 400 Illinois restaurants

McDonald’s to spend $317 million to upgrade 400 Illinois restaurants

Fresh beef isn’t the one new factor on the menu at McDonald’s.

Nearly two-thirds of McDonald’s restaurants in Illinois are slated for reworking by 2020 as a part of a nationwide modernization effort introduced Tuesday.

The Chicago-based burger chain and its franchisees are investing about $317 million in Illinois, “transforming the customer experience” inside and outside at 410 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the state, the corporate mentioned.

The new-look McDonald’s will function facilities such as modernized eating rooms, refreshed exteriors, digital self-order kiosks, transformed counters and new designated parking spots for cellular order curbside pickup.

Nationwide, McDonald’s and its franchisees will spend $6 billion to modernize many of the chain’s roughly 14,000 restaurants throughout the U.S.

McDonald’s has 663 restaurants in Illinois, greater than 90 % of that are franchise-owned, spokeswoman Anne Christensen mentioned. Newer restaurants are much less seemingly to bear vital transforming, she mentioned.

The McDonald’s makeover leaves the large golden arches of yore a distant reminiscence, as the unique red-and-white tiled buildings fade additional within the rear-view mirror, joined by many of the once-ubiquitous mansard-roofed restaurants that supplanted them.

Christensen mentioned the modernization is a rolling course of that can have widespread parts however “different looks and feels” primarily based on the situation and surrounding atmosphere.

One of the primary restaurants to bear the modernization was the franchise-owned McDonald’s on Chicago Avenue at State Street on town’s North Side, which accomplished its transforming two years in the past.

Perhaps extra symbolic of the formidable transformation is the just lately opened Chicago flagship in River North that demolished an outsized retro-themed McDonald’s that opened in 2005 for a glossy, solar-powered pavilion loaded with the forward-looking facilities being rolled out nationwide.

The restaurant, previously often called the Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s, occupies a block bounded by Ohio, Ontario, Clark and LaSalle streets with an undeniably trendy presence. While the reworking effort will change the McDonald’s streetscape broadly, Christensen mentioned not to anticipate something resembling the brand new flagship restaurant to pop up within the suburbs anytime quickly.

“We consider that to be a one-of-a-kind,” Christensen mentioned. “It’s really the only McDonald’s restaurant that will look like that in the world.”

The makeover comes as McDonald’s repositions itself to compete towards the so-called “better burger” chains similar to Five Guys and Shake Shack, which have taken a giant chunk out of the fast-food enterprise.

Beyond the higher-end burger restaurants, fast-food rivals similar to Wendy’s and Culver’s have lengthy used contemporary beef of their burgers.

In March, McDonald’s rolled out its new contemporary beef, made-to-order Quarter Pounders, an upgrade from the frozen patties used for its different burgers.

McDonald’s has seen flat gross sales lately, however the mixture of menu enhancements and retailer renovations might present a lift, mentioned Darren Tristano, CEO of Foodservice Results, a Chicago-area analysis and consulting agency.

“The big issue for McDonald’s is you can’t just elevate your product; you have to elevate your experience,” Tristano mentioned. “When a fast-food restaurant starts to improve the quality of their sandwiches, they have to improve the experience that a customer has at the restaurant.”

Tristano mentioned facilities similar to kiosk ordering are particularly essential for luring youthful clients, however finally the renovations have to be on par with menu enhancements such the contemporary beef Quarter Pounder if McDonald’s is to acquire market share within the more and more aggressive burger enterprise.

Modernizing most of its restaurants ought to pay dividends fairly rapidly for the burger large, he mentioned.

“When you renovate one restaurant, you usually see about a 10 percent lift in sales over the next year,” Tristano mentioned.

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Twitter @RobertChannick

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