McD’s Chameleon Strategy

Aug 27, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

You’re going to have to start looking more closely to find a McDonald’s. No, the company isn’t reducing its restaurant count. It’s taking a new approach to how it builds and remodels stores preferring to adapt its exterior presentation, visual merchandising and store configurations to better blend with the communities it serves.

A case in point is a new restaurant in the upscale Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, Ill. Gone, are the giant yellow arches and the statue of Ronald. These have been replaced, reports the Chicago Tribune, by an exterior of natural stone and terra-cotta-colored brick.

“The building is really intended to reflect the unique style that is Oak Brook–contemporary and modern in look and design,” said William Whitman, a McDonald’s spokesman. “It’s not a mansard roof with red, yellow and white.”

The 10,500-square-foot restaurant is also significantly larger than the typical 4,000-square-foot McD’s. The additional space will incorporate a McCafe in addition to a standard McDonald’s restaurant. The McCafe will have a separate counter with dedicated staff.

The chain’s new look in Oak Brook, follows its plans to build a new retro look model of its Rock ‘n’ Roll restaurant on N. Clark St. in Chicago.

McDonald’s plans to have both the Oakbrook and N. Clark St. locations open next year in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Ray Kroc’s first restaurant.

Moderator’s Comment: Does McDonald’s pursuit of a one-size-does-not-fit-all plan for its restaurant construction and visual merchandising improve or
detract from the marketing of its brand?

McD’s plans to continue and adapt to its surroundings, according to William Whitman. “We’ve always tried to include local elements–unique elements–that
make them a part of the community, and that has accelerated in the last few years,” he said.

George Anderson – Moderator

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