London Road McDonald’s to tear down, start overUpholstered chairs, plasma TVs and free WiFi will all be part of a new McDonald’s restaurant to be built at London Road and 21st Avenue East in Duluth.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Upholstered chairs, plasma TVs and free WiFi will all be part of a new McDonald’s restaurant to be built at London Road and 21st Avenue East in Duluth.
The existing restaurant is expected to close this month so it can be razed and rebuilt into one of the franchise’s hip new eateries more reminiscent of Starbucks than the traditional McDonald’s.
Construction should take about three months, said Mike Nagan, McDonald’s Duluth area supervisor.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” Nagan said. “It’s going to be cool.”
The exact closing date is up to the corporate McDonald’s, Nagan said. But workers were told the fast food restaurant would close July 18, employee Linda Dierks said.
Employees were given the option of working at another McDonald’s during the construction or not work until the new McDonald’s opens at the site, Dierks said, who chose to work temporarily at the McDonald’s in West Duluth.
As he finished a McDonald’s sundae Tuesday, Donn Anderson of Duluth considered plans for the new trendy restaurant.
“That seems like a good idea,” he said. “I’m not into computers. But upscale it a little bit — yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”
While the menu should remain the same, the new restaurant will be part of McDonald’s massive rebranding effort that the company hopes will make its eateries more welcoming and appealing to young people.
Lingering will be encouraged, not discouraged. Plastic fiberglass seats will make way for fabric covered ones, computer outlets will allow customers to plug in their laptops, lighting will be more subdued. Sleek counters with bar stools will allow customers eating alone to watch cable news and weather, while booths will still offer other seating. Decor will border on the funky.
“We are going for a different look we call the ‘forever young’ look,” said Brian Gist, McDonald’s Midwest marketing supervisor. “Really, we’re just trying to deliver a more modern experience for customers when they come into the restaurant, as well as enhance the drive-through experience.”
Getting in and out of the parking lot and the drive-through at this particular McDonald’s could stand some improvement, some say.
“The traffic flow is a little difficult to get out,” said Molly Tryon of Duluth, who stops in daily for an iced coffee. “Anything they could do to improve it would be good.”
The corporate McDonald’s, according to several news reports, is also going for a more contemporary look on the outside in its first major makeover in 30 years. The typical red or green roof is being replaced with a flatter, sloping gold roof in an arcade design. Awnings are being added and landscaping upgraded. McDonald’s traditional red and yellow motif will continue, but the red will be muted and sage green added to the color scheme.
But Kevin Lynch, a UMD student, was surprised to hear about the planned reconstruction at this restaurant as he prepared to order a McChicken sandwich and a chocolate shake at the drive-through.
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it,” he said of the current restaurant. As for the drive-through, he said, “I’m fine with the way it is. I never had a problem with it.”