It’s amazing what a facelift can do.
According to USA Today, McDonald’s restaurants across the nature are undergoing overhauls that are the rough equivalent of a boatload of plastic surgery. The former clean but workmanlike look of most of the franchise locations is turning into an upscale theme, to the tune of a $1 billion cost to the fast food titan.
Why the big push? It’s part of a transformation for the fast food titan, which got to the top of the heap by focusing on cheap food and quick service. Once you’ve hit the arched ceiling with that approach, however, you can’t grow any further. It was time for McDonald’s to go in a different direction, and the company’s decision-makers were well aware of that.
The hope for the new look—which includes warm lighting, steel-and-wood finishes and a menu that features comparatively upscale menu items such as Angus beef burgers and frappucinos—is that it will attract the sit-down crowd, as well as those who normally wouldn’t patronize a McDonald’s. At the same time, the menu remains chock full of food that’s cheap, tasty and filling and the decor isn’t so fancy that it’s going to drive regular customers away. The company is clearly hoping for balance.
There’s a chance this can backfire, as Time notes. Sometimes companies are successful precisely because they appeal to the blue-collar, those who want a quick, cheap meal on the go. McDonald’s is a very savvy company, so you have to think they’ve vetted this out well. Time will tell, but I can tell you that sitting down in one of the new-look restaurants is more relaxing than it used to be.
Yet there’s reason to believe that it will be a huge windfall for franchisees, either way. According to industry data, a remodeled restaurant will see a big lift in sales, with many stores posting 10-15 plus percent increases to AUVs. I’m guessing that data will be enough to convince many franchisees to allow McDonald’s to overhaul their locations, particularly since they don’t need franchise financing to do so.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the upgraded McDonald’s look and feel?
Are you planning a remodel? Download our free ebook: Planning for a Franchise Remodel Project
Photo credit to alexallied at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/115057