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Pa. McDonald's reopens for business today

June 27, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - A McDonald's restaurant called "an experiment" by its owner was completely torn down due to structural problems in its ninth year and has been rebuilt, opening at 5 this morning.

"It was an experiment with McDonald's to try something new, and there were difficulties with it," owner/operator Steven M. Delamater said.

Delamater is proud of the features in the newest of his 10 restaurants at Pa. 16 on the west side of the borough. Those features include high-definition, flat-screen televisions, more than 300 video games on two screens and Internet access.

One of the televisions will entertain customers standing in line, a concept Delamater borrowed after waiting for a Walt Disney World attraction with his daughter.

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"We plan on having special nights when we show 'Shrek' or some other home favorites," he said, noting he also wants to show holiday films.

Delamater also incorporated his travels into the floors, walls and bathroom sinks by importing granite and porcelain from Italy.

"In some cases, we use a design firm. In other cases, we're our own design firm," Delamater said, explaining many of the features came from upper management.

The restaurant has seating for 66 inside and 20 outside, and it traditionally did more than 60 percent of its business at the drive-thru.

The Mercersburg restaurant will employ more than 50 people, Delamater said.

"We offered everyone who was working here to work at our other stores (when Mercersburg's closed March 16)," he said.

Manager Jamie Worth will be returning to the restaurant where she worked last year. While McDonald's employees are still committed to processing orders quickly, she said she has seen a stronger emphasis on customer service in her three years with the chain.

"I believe we focus more on the customer's happiness," she said.

Other changes for McDonald's restaurants have been the popularity of iced coffee and increased sales in salads and chicken, Delamater said.

Through Delamor Enterprises LP, he maintains six McDonald's in Franklin County, Pa., one in Fulton County, Pa., and three in Bedford County, Pa. The Mercersburg restaurant will be open from 5 a.m. to midnight, with the potential for the hours to change in the future.

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