Restaurant rebuilt over the fall
By Scott Bellile
McDonald’s opens for business again in New London on Friday, Dec. 11, in a newly built restaurant.
Father-son owners Steve Kilian and Steve Kilian Jr., who also operate 42 McDonald’s restaurants in Wisconsin and Michigan, opted to demolish the previous 35-year-old McDonald’s building in October.
“It just wasn’t efficient, and it was out of date,” the younger Kilian said. The upgraded restaurant will provide a more pleasant experience for all plus a second drive-thru, he said.
The interior draws elements from a coffee shop or an upscale restaurant. Pendant lights hang above each table. On the walls autumnal shades of brown, red, green and orange are layered over photos and graphics. A series of windows on the north and east sides of the building will fill the dining area with sunlight.
“It’s more of a restaurant feel than a fast food feel,” Tony Porath of New London said at an invite-only preview showing on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Jim Massonet of New London attended the showing on behalf of the New London Veterans Memorial Foundation, which received a $250 donation from McDonald’s for the future memorial at Taft Park. He said he was impressed with the new building.
“What’s not to like? A very nice looking store,” Massonet said. “I think their double drive-thru is going to be great.”
For the workers, a larger kitchen is stocked with new equipment. The basement was eliminated in favor of first-level storage.
“It’s just so much more organization than what we did have,” manager Faith Campbell said. She predicted less chaos and more positive attitudes.
The second drive-thru will speed up to-go ordering. Workers inside can take a snapshot of each car on digital monitors all over the kitchen. That will help staff get orders right and ensure a customer isn’t forgotten, Campbell said.
McDonald’s Corporation had recorded declining quarterly sales worldwide for more than a year. In October the company reported its first turnaround with earnings increasing 0.9 percent during its third quarter.
Kilian said New London’s new building, combined with the restaurant offering an all-day breakfast menu for the first time, will put New London’s franchise in a good position to survive long-term. He predicted New London will hire an additional 10 to 20 employees to help at the new restaurant.