By: Jazmyne Walker
WCW Staff Writer
The McDonald’s restaurant at 5015 W. Madison Street has been restored, refurbished and revamped. State and local officials, lawmakers, and residents attended the unveiling of the remodeled business Friday, Sept 6 followed by the grand re-opening on Sept 7.
The over $2 million establishment is the first McDonald’s on the west side to get this change. The original McDonald’s was built in 1985 and was slowly deteriorating. “It was the Vintage of it, it had just gotten worn out and needed a lot of upgrading so instead of putting a half a million into upgrading it, I put another into building it”, said Ron Lofton, of Lofton and Lofton Management, President of the Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA), and Owner of the new restaurant.
“This is the new fresh look for McDonald’s; this is what I call a ‘swoosh McDonald’s’”, said Lofton, referring to the redesign of its golden arches with a swoosh-like logo. Although this is the first McDonald’s on the west side to receive this change, about 750 Chicago area stores have made a transition and soon all of its restaurants will have this logo.
Powers and Sons Construction, who built the original McDonald’s, were amongst the many contractors who built the new restaurant, saying that they wanted to build an establishment that the neighborhood could be proud of.
The McDonald’s has new bathrooms, kitchen and a duel-sided drive-thru allowing more than one customer to order food in the drive-thru. The lobby is painted with vibrant colors and positive messages written on the walls with the intent to give off a constructive vibe to customers. A “duel-sided prep” table was added, which has a work station on both sides of the tables allowing employees to produce more orders than before.
“We’ve also hired 80 new employees from the community and we’ve also diversified our workforce which is important. Diversification in my book is probably the key to this country much less to a business,” said Lofton.
The McDonald’s will remain 24-hours but with the new drive-thru more orders can be taken on busy nights. “The duel drive-thru will allow me to put more cars through which means I don’t really need more people for production.”
Jim Schugars, McDonald’s Director of Field Service for the Chicago Region, said that this new model is part of the modernization efforts of McDonald’s nationwide to reach out to a new generation of customers.
Some facilities will be rebuilt and others will get modified and equipped with modern machinery. Schugars said that it made economic sense to tear down the Madison restaurant and start from scratch, given its age.
“We’re an old brand but we want to be relevant and appealing to our consumers,” Schugars said.
Lofton said he hopes the new McDonald’s will encourage other business to open or remodel on Madison Street.
“So many times we have new things come to our neighborhood and in two years it looks like its [neglected],” Lofton said. “Reinvest in your community. Keep your property up…. [people] work hard for their money, and they deserve the best .”