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Thread: McDonald's is getting a makeover

  1. #1
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    McDonald's is getting a makeover

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/...2.asp?GT1=8180

    All-things-plastic interiors will be replaced with comfy chairs and an iPod-like look, but Ronald McDonald and the golden arches get to stick around.

    By BusinessWeek

    A comfortable armchair. Cool hanging lights. Funky graphics and photos on the walls. Wi-Fi access. Premium coffee. Isn't Starbucks great? Except...this is McDonald's.

    McDonald's? That's right. After 30 years without a major design overhaul, the 51-year-old fast-food giant is adopting a hip new look. The world's largest hamburger chain is redesigning its 30,000 eateries around the globe in a 21st century makeover of unprecedented scale.

    The redesign is risky and has many franchisees up in arms over the high costs of a makeover. But company officials believe the overhaul is needed. McDonald's, whose restaurants are visited by more than 40 million people every day, has moved aggressively over the past three years to revamp its menu and attract a new breed of customer. It has added healthier items like premium salads targeted at women, and apple slices and skim milk for children. But as more upscale items like Asian chicken salad show up on its menu, the chain's typical starkly lit, plastic-heavy look is at odds with the contemporary, welcoming image the company wants to present.

    "McDonald's promises to be a 'forever young' brand," says John Miologos, vice-president of worldwide architecture, design, and construction at McDonald's Corp. "We have to deliver on that promise." The last major change at McDonald's restaurants was the introduction of play places for children in the early 1980s.

    'Think iPod'
    What will the new McDonald's look like? "Think iPod: clean lines, simplicity," says Miologos. The signature mansard roof? History. "The big red roof looks too dated today," says John Bricker, creative director at design firm Gensler's brand-strategy arm, Studio 585. It's being replaced by a flat roof topped by a newly designed, contemporary, golden sloping curve. Ronald McDonald appears safe: The mascot was given a leaner, sportier look just last year. And the iconic twin golden arches will still play a big role in the branding.

    After conducting a global contest among design firms, the burger giant chose New York-based Lippincott Mercer in the summer of 2004. Peter Dixon, the design firm's creative director, spent 2005 with McDonald's internal architecture and design team testing and prototyping the new look, which is being officially rolled out this year. Lippincott Mercer, which until it signed McDonald's had few clients in the restaurant business, has made a name for itself working with companies going through a shift in brand identity and image. In 2002, for example, it helped redesign Nissan dealerships to reflect the company's launch of several new upscale cars. Within a year, the redesigned dealerships saw an average of 57% sales growth, vs. 33% overall.

    The traditional McDonald's yellow and red colors will remain, but the red will be muted to terra cotta and olive and sage green will be added to the mix. To warm up their look, the restaurants will have less plastic and more brick and wood, with modern hanging lights to produce a softer glow. Contemporary art or framed photographs will hang on the walls. Bob Dixon, a private school fund-raiser in Chicago, says of an Oak Brook, Ill., restaurant that sports the new design: "It's bright, it's lively, it's clean. It stunned me how beautiful it was."

    The dining area will be separated into three sections with distinct personalities. The "linger" zone will offer comfortable armchairs, sofas, and Wi-Fi connections. "The focus is on young adults who want to socialize, hang out, and linger," says Dixon. Brand consultant Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a brand consulting firm, says that Starbucks has raised the bar: "A level has been set by Starbucks, which offers the experience of relaxed chairs and a clean environment where people feel comfortable hanging out even if it's just over a cup of coffee."

    The "grab and go" zone will feature tall counters with bar stools for customers who eat alone; plasma TVs will offer them news and weather reports. And in the "flexible" zone, families will have booths featuring fabric cushions with colorful patterns and flexible seating. The new design allows different music to be targeted to each zone.

    A 21st-century look is expensive
    McDonald's won't confirm the cost of a redesign. Richard Adams, a former franchisee and consultant to current owners, estimates they will have to pay $300,000 to $400,000 to renovate an existing outlet -- an amount roughly equal to a restaurant's annual profit. Tearing down a store and rebuilding from scratch could cost $1 million, Adams says. The franchisees will have to pay for the renovations themselves, which has some of them seething. "Many franchisees are dead set against this change, especially because they already spent millions remodeling their restaurants in the past four years," says Adams. In 2002, when McDonald's introduced premium salads, it did ask a number of franchisees to spruce up their dining rooms, but it wasn't a major redesign project. McDonald's says it worked collaboratively with franchisees to jointly develop a strategy for the current "re-imaging" of its restaurants.

    In a recent letter to management at the company's headquarters in Oak Brook, about 160 franchisees from North Carolina spelled out why they oppose the new plan. They say the roof change erases 40 years of brand building and that "there has been no business case presented which justifies the change." Says Frederick Huebner, who owns 11 McDonald's in North Carolina: "We don't want to lose the iconic look of what we've got." If franchisees balk, McDonald's can refuse to renew their contract.

    Right now, only 20 recently opened restaurants in the U.S. sport the makeover in its entirety. Another 20, primarily in Tulsa, Okla., and Columbus, Ohio, have been completely remodeled. All brand-new restaurants will have to hew to the redesign blueprints, and by the end of 2006, more than half of the 13,720 U.S. restaurants will feature some element of the design. Says Gensler's Bricker: "It's something that McDonald's has to do if it wants to be part of the 21st century."
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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  3. #2
    Member The Baumer's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Re-design or not, I'll still be across the street eating at WacArnold's.

  4. #3
    Joe Oliver love-child Blimpie's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    This represents not only a design change, but also an entire philosophical transformation.

    Time was, the decision-makers at McDonalds felt the key to success was high volume. Only way to accomplish that was to "turn tables" so to speak. They did not WANT customers lingering around the dining area because it made the place look excessively crowded. That's pushes the next paying customer away from the restaurant.

    In fact, they used to proactively design their furniture to be less than comfortable in an effort to stem the tide of "lounging (non-paying) customers." Remember those little plastic swivel seats that were anchored to the tables? Those were designed with a "cheek separator" depression molded into the seat. But the truth was that that separator was intentionally made just ever-so-slightly off center. A normal person could never be comfortable in those chairs very long...and that was by design.
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  5. #4
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    I still have problems with the food.

    It's not good.
    Go Gators!

  6. #5
    Future Reds All Star TeamMorris's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Hardly ever ate there until I had TG. Was always a Burger King fan. Still like the BK burgers better but go to McDonalds more because TG isn't thrilled with BK's chicken fingers and I HATE the new fries!

  7. #6
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Inside? They have insides? People actually eat inside and don't just use the drive-thru?

    Only breakfast at Micky-D's for me. Never eat their grub anytime else. I have before of course, but it has probably been a good 5 years since I did.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  8. #7
    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Their chicken caesar is very very good.

    And, IMHO, their regular coffee (no fru fru) is better than Starbucks. McD's coffee kicks butt.
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

  9. #8
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    I swore off fast food a couple of years ago in my slim down effort, but TB is right, the coffee is pretty darn good. Once in a while I miss it, but then I just look at a picture from 3 years ago and keep driving.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  10. #9
    saboforthird
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    The last time MickeyD's was fun for me was when they had the old McDonald's songs. The songs they play now in their commercials (and the fact their workers don't smile anymore) make me sick.

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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Ehh, I'm not sure how much this will help them. I think they've taken a hit with the whole Super Size me campaign. I have many friends that just absolutely refuse to eat there after seeing how unhealthy many of the burgers are. I do commend them for trying to get some higher quality, healthier food. That, I believe, will be what ultimately gets them more customers back.

    As for the design changes, I think this will help them in areas frequented my high school and college aged people. I know my friends absolutely suck up the whole Starbuck's atmosphere. I'd say last summer my college friends would go to Starbucks at least 2-3 nights every week. It's not that they are big coffee drinkers, most hate it, it's just the whole atmosphere and it being more fun than someone's basement. If McDonald's replicates that atmosphere, which is what it appears they are trying to do, than I think they will be able to draw in the high school/college crowd longer than just a late night dollar menu stop.

    As for me, I think I'll still stick to breakfasts and late night dollar menu stops after going out.

  12. #11
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by saboforthird
    The last time MickeyD's was fun for me was when they had the old McDonald's songs. The songs they play now in their commercials (and the fact their workers don't smile anymore) make me sick.
    Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  13. #12
    C-A-T-S CATS! CATS! CATS! WVRed's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    Eh, they need to get higher quality food. Big Mac's just don't cut it for me anymore.

    If I eat there, I usually get a salad or a chicken wrap.
    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
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  14. #13
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    IMO buying a salad a McDonalds is the equivalent to those fizzy tablets that were supposed to make your water like soda back in the 70's.

    Just wrong.

  15. #14
    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    i don't really understand the fast food / restaurant business' concept of the salad...i for one don't eat meat, so it drives me crazy when a place offers 10 different types of salad, but they all have chicken, turkey, beef or even bacon bits included...all i want is a salad without meat!!! wendy's use to have one, but they did away with that in favor of some taco salad...now if i have to eat there, i just opt for the plain baked potato with chives...not the greatest, but in a quick fix, it works...

  16. #15
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: McDonald's is getting a makeover

    i for one don't eat meat, so it drives me crazy when a place offers 10 different types of salad, but they all have chicken, turkey, beef or even bacon bits included...all i want is a salad without meat!!!
    Preach on brother man..... preach on...


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