McDonald's recently began a billion-dollar renovation project to update its stores to a more inviting, modern look, as reported in USA Today. The refurbishment project, which began with stores in Tampa, is the largest in the chain's history. The transformation is expected to complete the renovation of most of its 14,000 national franchises over the next four years.
Here in South Florida, face-lifts can be seen around town. The downtown Fort Lauderdale store (27 W. Broward Blvd.) is currently three weeks under construction and expects to unveil the updated storefront in the next two or three weeks.
McDonald's hopes that the more attractive, comfortable dining area will create a cozy atmosphere for guests to hang out -- an advantage that competitors such as Starbucks have mastered. Currently, customers of the fast-food restaurant don't typically lounge around postcheeseburger consumption for the free Wi-Fi. Hoping to change that, McDonald's opted to bring in flat-screen televisions in at least 50 percent of its stores.
The renovations continue with replacing uncomfortable chairs and fiberglass tables with cushioned vinyl seats and wooden tabletops. Modern light fixtures will take the place of offensive halogens. No more neon yellow-and-red color schemes; those will be swapped too with more muted earthtones.
Will the updated café image of McDonald's compete with the lounge-esque atmosphere of coffee shops or the higher-end chains?
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