McDonald's revamps stores to look more upscale
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY
Updated 1h 2m ago |
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TAMPA — McDonald's is looking less like McDonald's and more like Starbucks.
By Brian Blanco, for USA TODAY
At a time when most of McDonald's competitors are still shell-shocked from the recent recession, the fast-food giant is undertaking its biggest store-by-store makeover in the chain's 56-year history: The 500-pound clown of fast food is trying to look more like a grown-up.
It's a $1 billion-plus undertaking that McDonald's and its franchisees hope, by 2015, will have the vast majority of America's 14,000 McDonald's looking comfortable enough to hang out in long after you've gobbled down your burger, fries — and smoothie.
For the next generation of McDonald's customers, the notion of what a McDonald's restaurant looks like inside and out could be turned on its head. Goodbye, fiberglass tables and industrial steel chairs. Adios, neon-yellow, bright-red interiors. Hello, wooden tables, comfortable faux leather chairs and interiors newly painted in muted oranges, yellows and even subtle greens.
Take away all the McDonald's signage — and the familiar front counter area — and customers who were to drive by or step inside wouldn't likely know they were face-to-face with a McDonald's. Even from the street, many of the changes are immediately apparent. No more clown-red roofs. No more confusion about what door to use. And that all-too-familiar white facade has been replaced with more inviting earth tones and glass.
Before any other media have eyeballed the changes — even before select restaurant industry analysts get a sneak peek later this week — USA TODAY was given a look at the McDonald's remodeling plans in Tampa that will set the tone for the rest of the nation. After revamping 280 stores in various markets last year, McDonald's is now opting for the Tampa model and will spread that design to upwards of 800 locations this year — roughly triple what it did last year.