In McDonald’s Redo Wood Look Dominates
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Wood-topped tables and wood chairs, and wood tone partitions and ceilings are part of
McDonald’s multi-year $1 billion makeover of 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

For custom woodshops prospecting jobs, the local McDonald’s restaurants could provide some commercial work. In a multi-year project, the fast food chain will remodel most of its 14,000 U.S. locations, adding a warmer wood look that moves the franchises’ interiors from the White Castle end of the design spectrum closer to a Starbucks look.

Wood tabletops, wooden chairs, woodgrain partitions and wood-trimmed ceiling fixtures will be part of the $1 billion makeover. By 2015, McDonald’s will have redone its U.S. restaurants, using a Tampa, FL, model as a prototype. The master design was created by New York architectural firm Lippincott Mercer, which says it set up zoned seating configurations in the dining areas to create more variety and choice for how customers use the environment. It employed a variety of décor concepts to provide options for local adaptations. Max Carmona, McDonald’s senior director for U.S. restaurant design, oversees the transformation process.

Restaurants will replace steel chairs with wood chairs, and fiberglass tables with laminated wood panel topped tables. The goal is to make the restaurants more inviting for longer stays and give them a greener feel.

About 800 locations are expected to be completed in 2011. Local franchisees, who own almost 90 percent of the U.S. McDonald’s restaurants, will pay $400,000 to $700,000 for the remodeling both interior and exterior (they will get double drive through lanes, and a new exterior look) following the company guidelines, with some local adaptations for zoning and aesthetics.

McDonald’s has a history of greening up its locations. In 2005 a franchisee in Savannah, GA, built the first McDonald’s restaurant certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. A Canadian McDonald’s built to LEED specifications opened in December 2008 in Beauport, QC, using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood materials. In August 2008, McDonald’s USA opened its first corporate-owned pilot green restaurant in Chicago, and received LEED Gold certification in April 2009, as did a Cary, NC, McDonald’s.

The Cary, NC, location, designed by LMHT Architects, Durham, NC, used kirei board, bamboo, sunflower seed board, and wheat board in its dining room.

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