McDonald's is once again open for business at Clark Street and Ontario Street, but the corporation's flagship restaurant bears no resemblance to the Rock-n-Roll McDonald's that sat there for decades. This is what executives are calling the experience of the future.
"It's a laser focus first on our customer, on our food, on the community and on the environment," said Nick Karavites, the owner and operator of the flagship store.
Customers will find touchscreen ordering kiosks, service at tables equipped with cell phone chargers and ample outdoor eating space, all in a design that's bright, airy, modern, environmentally-friendly and more energy efficient.
"This building was completed in a little under 13 months, and that's not just building it. That's from when we started talking about designing it and what it would be," said Carol Ross Barney, the architect for the building.
McDonald's president and CEO Steve Easterbrook said the company is proud to be a Chicago brand and is committed to having a presence in the city.
"We relocated our HQ to the West Loop area and we accelerated the opening only two months ago, so it's created an enormous excitement within our workforce," he said.
Out of its 14,000 restaurants, McDonald's has transformed 5,000 into "experience of the future" restaurants. One thousand restaurants get transformed each quarter.
"Ten local communities across the U.S. every single day are gonna wake up to a significantly modernized, more enjoyable, more relaxing experience at McDonald's," Easterbrook said.
Karavites said he'll be looking to hire about 50 more employees to work at the flagship store.