Monday June 18, 2007

Mexico McDonald's to Reopen as Model Store

Fast food will have a new look in Mexico this fall
By Chris Motola

    The McDonald¹s restaurant located at 3362 Main St. in Mexico closed June 3 in preparation for a summertime project that will tear down the current eatery and replace it with a new prototype model store.

    “It’ll be more in keeping with today’s lifestyles,” says franchisee Paul M. Ross, who owns 10 other McDonald’s throughout Central New York. ”Our goal is to provide customers with an even better dining experience than before.”

    The new restaurant will be the first in the Central New York area to feature McDonald¹s new prototype look. According to Ross, the Mexico site was selected because the former restaurant, built in 1996 was itself an experimental model. Conceived of as a modular unit built in airport hangars and shipped to local sites to essentially be plugged into foundations, it was meant to be a time and cost saving endeavor. It was a design that proved to be problematic according to Ross, neither cheap nor convenient. The foundation had a tendency to move, causing periodic flooding.

    In some ways, the new design is coming from an almost polar opposite philosophy. While Ross says the long time franchise principles of serving hot food, fast in a clean environment haven’t changed, the look of that environment will be getting a major overhaul.

    “[The new model] doesn’t look like anything you’d think of as a McDonald’s,” says Ross.

    While the McDonald’s Corporation has experimented with methods of production before, the new design is the first major change to the franchise’s look in around 30 years. Ross describes the new design as “less plastic, more homey.” It will incorporate more metal, brick and wood, as well as modern hanging lights. Colors will be more muted than in the past and customers will be able to choose from a wider variety of seating, from traditional booths and chairs to barstools and lounge seating. The exterior will lose the trademark Mansard roof for a more modern, squarer design.

    The redesign will be more than cosmetic. Ross is planning to replace 70 percent of the Mexico restaurant’s equipment with new state-of-the-art fast food-preparing machines.

    “This is a major capital reinvestment in the community on our part, and is our way of thanking our customers for their support over the years,” says Ross. He estimates the total cost of the project to be around $750,000.

    The new restaurant will retain its staff of 45, who were offered positions in other McDonald’s during the construction, says Ross.