Imagine if Ronald McDonald developed a taste for lattes and started reading Dwell magazine for home improvement ideas. The result might mirror the newly remodeled and expanded Glassell Park McDonald’s at the corner of San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive. A muted color scheme – browns, almonds, tans – has replaced yellow and red. The plastic seats and benches have been swapped out for banquettes upholstered in simulated leather and chairs covered in a surface that resembles dark wood. A flat screen TV sits above a stark, white bar with stools trimmed in stainless steel. A cluster of semi-circular banquettes are illuminated by large, drum-like lanterns (how did these get so popular?) hanging over head. Words like “tender,” “mouth-watering,” and “love” are repeated on posters that line the walls.
What’s going on here? USA Today explains that this is apparently part of McDonald’s $1 billion effort to give its restaurants a more upscale look to compete with the Starbucks and Panera bakeries of the world. But one industry told USA Today that the new interiors might turn off some customers:
“Flashy decor may not sit well with Middle America,” warns Scott Hume, editor of the restaurant industry blog BurgerBusiness. “The trick is to go techno without going Jetsons.”