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McDonald's goes modern

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The new McDonald’s restaurant being built in Shelbyville will include a dual-lane drive-thru, digital outdoor menu boards and self-order kiosks.
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With the help of a drone, the structural layout of the McDonald’s restaurant, built in 1974, is visible. The new version will be similar in size but much more modern in the way it is set up to improve customer service.
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Demolition was deemed necessary of the McDonald’s restaurant, originally built in 1974 along State Road 44 in Shelbyville, to make way for a modern version that is expected to be completed in late July.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

McDonald’s is heavily investing in its franchises to create more modern restaurants with improved customer service options.

That’s the reasoning behind the demolition of the 44-year-old restaurant along State Road 44 in Shelbyville.

“The new building will be roughly the same size,” said McDonald’s owner-operator Karen Wojtowicz via email. “However, it will be much more efficiently laid out. This is the main reason it is being rebuilt. The old building was not set up for all the McDonald’s equipment that we have installed over the years. The old building had a basement and a kitchen that created bottlenecks to serving our guests the way they deserve. The new building is designed to deliver exceptional service. The new kitchen layout will be only the second one like it in the state and one of the first in the entire United States.”

Construction is underway on the new building with the goal of completion by the end of July.

With the new building comes new amenities.

“The new restaurant will feature a dual-lane drive-thru, digital outdoor menu boards, and an entirely new dine-in experience,” said Wojtowicz. “We are putting more choice and control in the hands of our customers. We’re making it easier for customers to order their meal on their own terms, whether that’s at our new self-order kiosks or at the front counter. For customers looking to order at their own pace, our new digital self-order kiosks make ordering and paying for a meal easy. Kiosks empower guests to browse the menu, find new options and tailor their meal just the way they want. We are focused on hospitality and offering table service for customers to have a more relaxing dine-in experience.”

The new kiosks are already operational in Shelbyville at the restaurant at 10 W. Rampart Road which underwent a major renovation in 2017.

“In 2018, McDonald’s and local franchisees plan to invest $2.4 billion of capital to modernize restaurants in the U.S. Roughly 2,700 restaurants have been modernized globally since May 2017,” said Wojtowicz, who along with her husband, Paul, own all three McDonald’s restaurants in Shelbyville. “McDonald’s goal is to modernize and update most U.S. restaurants by 2020. These new restaurants provide not only convenient new technologies, but also new designs that take into consideration our drive for sustainability and energy efficiency.”

The third local McDonald’s, located at 1851 W. 400 North at the Fairland Road exit off Interstate 74, also will see improvements in the near future.

“Right now, there are plans to modernize the Fairland exit McDonald’s,” said Wojtowicz. “We will be introducing many of the same innovative technologies as the other two locations. However, we do not have a specific timeline as to when that will happen. Considering the goal of having all U.S. restaurants modernized by 2020, we anticipate the completion of work there to be completed by then.”

Wojtowicz wanted to add that the introduction of ordering kiosks will not result in a downsizing of staff. In fact, the effect will be the opposite.

“The addition of kiosks is not a way to replace the value that crew members bring to McDonald’s,” she said. “By bringing crew members out from behind the front counter, their personalities come through; they enjoy being able to engage with our guests through table service and create those feel good moments like helping someone to their table, delivering their meals, or getting essentials to make their dining experience better.”

The kiosks will create jobs according to Wojtowicz, who anticipates hiring over 50 people across their restaurants.

“We’re not getting rid of jobs, we’re creating them,” she said. 

Building opened in August of 1974. 

All three Shelbyville restaurants purchased in October of 2011.