I recently read an article from the October issue of Fast Company which talks about the global redesign of the McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain.  I think we are all familiar with the ubiquitous brick and mortar cookie-cutter locations, filled with bright reds, oranges and yellows, and of course the frightening clown mascot.  Along with the many recent menu innovations, such as the “Premium” items, including McCafé drinks, upscale salads and wraps, the chain is looking to upgrade the overall eating environment.  In Europe and Australia, some of these design updates have already taken hold over the past several years — but in 2010, there will be a lot of changes here in the US. 

“Next year, McDonald’s will launch its first total makeover campaign since the Carter administration, allocating $2.4 billion to redo at least 400 domestic outposts, refurbish 1,600 restaurants abroad, and build another 1,000.”

Clearly, the folks at the top think that the brand is getting stale, and I agree.  When a consumer sees your average McDonald’s, they primarily think: fast and cheap, with a dash of lingering distrust due to sources such as Fast Food Nation.  The chain is clearly trying to go in a new direction, while capitalizing on key successes seen in Europe. 

“European customers spend about three times more per visit than their U.S. counterparts, on what’s basically the American menu.”

Part of this bump is having a more dynamic eating space, and also the novelty of the new.  It will be interesting to see how anti-change Americans adapt to this movement, especially in the long-term.  It certainly won’t change my mind on the overall quality of the food, which is why I have not ordered there in about 15 years.  But as an observer, I am anxious to see how this social experiment plays out.  One thing McD’s certainly has in its favor is the money to move forward or go back.  

How do you think this design update will change the McDonald’s experience? Would you be more likely to spend a little more money if your local chain was set up with hardwood floors and tables that weren’t bolted to the floor?  What are the chances that this will be a success?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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58 Responses

  1. Jeff H in TX

    Decor does not matter as much as the toxic pink slime that goes into their chicken nuggets, the hormone mess that they call beef and the salt encrusted tombstones that pass for french fried potatoes.

    Repackaging soylent orange, bold move.
    Most folks will buy into it.
    Not me.

  2. Steven K

    Every ones who is complaining about the food quality and that it’s not healthy enough.GO EAT SOMEWHERE ELSE! Eco freak losers

  3. FunnyMunny

    Hey McDonald’s, have you read a newspaper in the last 20 years? Fried food, white bread, ice cream and soda have been found to be unhealthy! Who knew? How about spending some more money on better food? Would it kill you to switch to whole wheat buns or real cheddar cheese or skin-on fries? Sheesh, upgrading their food takes all the brainpower of a 2 year old (or me, evidently).

  4. Shamwow Shake

    A change in decor is fine but it is not going to drive more adults to McDonalds, but kids pestering parents will if kids have a reason to want to go there. How about bringing back the old characters like Mayor McCheese, Hamburglar, Grimace, and the like.
    The new decor seems more 1950’s than anything.
    Top breakfast items all day would be nice.

  5. Kate

    I think this will be a success, i live in london in the uk and the mcdonalds here are mostlyt the remodeled kind and people, especially teenages, hang out in them for a long time and spend more money. its more of a european style coffee shop that also sells cakes, coffees, as well as the traditional big macs etc.
    They are really popular over here.

  6. JTR

    I think the remodeling is an awesome idea, but consider improving outdoor facilities for families, even converting some parking spaces around the restaurant into a small park for outdoor dining. Regarding the food: 1) improve the fish fillet sandwich, I love the taste but seriously a square looking patty still doesn’t seem right. 2) They should offer a turkey meat sandwich, Carl’s Jr knows what they’re doing 3) Low the sodium content in everything served.

  7. Frani

    Personally I think it’s great! I like the upgrades to their food–the McGriddle is the best breakfast sandwich there is, tastewise. They’ve added oatmeal all day–Yay! Their frozen coffee is wonderful. The only thing foodwise they could add would be something like a falafel sandwich, maybe (for vegetarians). That billion they’re gonna spend will pay for wages to construction folks who will spend that money in the economy–hello trickle down! They’ll buy supplies and construction materials, how is that not good?


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