In a new attempt to get hungry customers coming back to the visit the Golden Arches, McDonald’s is opening a new location in St. Joseph, Missouri, and it will be a little different than the fast food restaurants we have come to know since 1955. According to Business Insider the brand new location will offer all-you-can-eat French fries.
McDonald’s has had a rough patch lately, closing hundreds of stores over the past few years as profits continue to decline. The new 6,500-square-foot facility is testing many new features for the chain, including a party room, table service, and more customization for your sandwiches, burgers, and deserts. It will also offer a more relaxed atmosphere with couches and lounge chairs where you can hang out all day and munch away on those all-you-can-eat fries.
In an effort to be more family friendly and bring in mothers with small children during daytime hours, the store features events for mother’s and their children. The McDonald’s will feature play groups, book readings, and potentially other family friendly fun.
The location, plus other McDonald’s nationwide, will also be testing digital kiosks; allowing you to order your food without having to interact with another human being. Other chains have also been testing out such devices, not only as a convenience feature, but also as a cost cutting measure. The more customers that avoid the counter, the less staff needed to man the registers.
The hope is that the kiosks will lead to faster service. With the addition of customizable menu items, the kiosks should also provide McDonald’s customers with more accurate orders: no one likes getting home and finding pickles and onions when they specifically asked for none. Testing out the digital kiosks may make this a frustration of the past.
Last year, McDonald’s faced a larger than expected decline in sales in the first three months of the year. Wall Street expected there to be a 1.8 percent decline in sales for McDonald’s locations open for at least 13 months, instead the chain saw a 2.3 percent for the quarter.
Later in the year, McDonald’s saw a huge turnaround in their fortunes, as another test program went large-scale and greatly increased their profits: all-day breakfast. Fans of the chain had been clamoring for years to be able to get Egg McMuffins, hash browns, and other morning treats later in the day. Due to logistics, it seemed as if the day would never come, but on October 6, 2015, dreams became a reality as breakfast all-day went nationwide.
Since the launch of all-day breakfast, sales have surged for McDonald’s, shattering the predictions of financial experts, growing by more than five percent and reaching record high share values for Macdonald’s (MCD).
There have been a lot of changes for McDonald’s since it ousted former CEO Don Thompson in January of last year. New CEO Steve Easterbrook has overseen many changes, including new menu items, breakfast all-day, the implementation of digital ordering kiosks in select stores, and the new all-you-can-eat fries at the new Missouri location.
There continues to be a battle for the minds, hearts, and wallets of customers when it comes to fast food. The rise of more fast casual restaurants such as: Shake Shack, Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill (which McDonald’s once invested in) are just a few of the many chains offering fresher, less-processed foods, but lacking in table service. McDonald’s and other fast food chains will continue to experiment to try to gain a piece of the pie.
All-you-can-eat fries may be the next test that goes nationwide and further improves McDonald’s fortunes, only time will tell. The new “McDonald’s of the Future” will open in St. Joseph, Missouri, in July of this year, so if you are craving all the French fries, it is time to plan your road-trip.
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