When did McDonald’s go upscale?

I don’t go to McDonald’s very often.  The other day however, I was out driving around to drop off some old electronics I couldn’t sell but wanted to recycle, and I got that special kind of thirst that soda manufactures love to tell you about.  I wanted a Diet Coke.   Because overpaying for what is already an exceptionally high profit margin item is one of my pet peeves, I headed over to McDonald’s for a $1 “any size” drink.  This was a good $0.50 to $1 less than I would have paid at a convenience store, and I was hungry.  McDonald’s is certainly not the best food around, but it has one major quality – you know what you are going to get.

Upon arriving, a greeter opened the door for me and welcomed me to the store.  The restaurant was perfectly clean and the entire staff was well groomed and in what looked like brand new uniforms.  Each register was manned by a two person team, with one taking the order and the other instantaneously building my tray of goodies.  This system kept the line short; my total wait time was easily less than a minute.  I got my two $0.89 burgers, a $0.50 apple pie and a $1 soda and turned to enter the dining area.  This is where things got interesting.  The area looked like a slightly upscale lounge.  The seats were sofa like, comfortable, leather and in calm red, white and brown colors.  People were working on their laptops, making full use of the free WIFI and a McDonald’s associate was walking around with a tray of free smoothie samples.  It was nice.  I finished my meal, snapped a few pictures, asked a few questions and left.  On exiting, I was thanked and the door was opened for me.

It turns out that this location was a corporate owned store and it appeared that there was some extra management around for “national hiring day” – so all of this extra special treatment may have been a fluke; but the décor, prices and WIFI were certainly not.  

Though I don’t plan on increasing my intake of fast food, I do think McDonald’s, and in particular this location, will make it a little higher on my list the next time I do.

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