New McDonald's goes high-tech

February 01, 2007|By DAN DEARTH


The refurbished McDonald's at U.S. 40 and Cannon Avenue features plasma-screen televisions and an indoor waterfall that flows down a glass wall etched with the golden arches.

Restaurant owner Mark Levine said during Thursday's grand reopening that the restaurant is one of 30 in the nation and the first in Maryland to embrace McDonald's new look.

McDonald's has about 13,500 restaurants nationwide, he said.

The tables are topped with flowers that diners can enjoy while sitting on cushioned chrome seats. The low-hanging lights make the restaurant seem more like a bistro than a link in a restaurant chain.


The restaurant also has Wi-Fi Internet access, Levine said. And two-thirds of the 95 seats have access to electrical outlets to charge cell phones, among other things.

Levine said his family opened its first McDonald's 35 years ago, and they now own four in the area.

"(This McDonald's) is a thank-you for being so good to my family for 35 years," he said. "It's to give them something nobody else has."

Levine said construction on the restaurant, which started in October, finished Thursday.

"Now we have a Taj Mahal," he said. "The gods were with me. They didn't give us any snow (during construction)."

Tammie Patrick, 36, of Hagerstown, said she waited in line to be one of the first through the door when the McDonald's opened at about 11 a.m.

"I was interested to see what they did with the building," she said. "I've seen the whole upcoming of how it's progressed."

Patrick said she likes the iced coffee, a new item on the menu.

McDonald's started to explore ways to grow business in 2003, said Danya Proud, a McDonald's corporate spokeswoman. The contemporary look and high-tech additions are part of the plan.

A majority of the new McDonald's that are built will incorporate the same style as this one, she said. Some will have fireplaces and lounge seating.

"We see it as an investment in our customers. We want our restaurants to be forever young," she said. "We want customers to come in and enjoy what we have to offer."

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