McDonald’s Plans to Spend $6 Billion to Modernize Most U.S. Restaurants by 2020

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Have you heard the news?

Recently, McDonald’s announced that they’re planning to spend a whopping $6 billion for restaurant improvements to modernize most U.S. McDonald’s restaurants by 2020, with hopes of transforming the customer experience. With this significant investment, the transformed restaurants will feature the following changes:

mcdonalds plans restaurant improvements potentially like these ordering kiosks

(Photo Credit)

    • Enhanced customer experience with digital self-order kiosks that make ordering and paying for meals easier.
    • Modernized dining rooms with globally and locally inspired décor, new furniture, and refreshed exterior designs.

mcdonalds plans restaurant improvements potentially like this open dining area

  • Remodeled counters allowing for new table service that offers guests the opportunity to relax while their food is being made.
  • Expanded McCafé counters and larger display cases.
  • Bright and easy to read digital menu boards inside and at the drive-through.
  • New designated parking spots for curbside pick-up through Mobile Order & Pay.

McDonald's Mobile App

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What do you think of McDonald’s upcoming changes?

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Comments 85

  1. Belle

    They’re really trying to upscale themselves away from the stereotypical fast food image!

  2. Diane

    Interesting, timely post! Our local McDonalds has been closed for over a month for renovation. And it is a substantional renovation. I drive by it every day on the way to work and have been surprised by how much they are doing. The way it is shaping up, the building will be bigger and will look completely different.

    • Kay nun

      Same here, mine has been closed A month. Weird thing is it was already one of the nicest ones.

  3. Hollie

    The McDonald’s by us that have remodeled to the touchscreens we refuse to go in. I also dislike how they have taken play areas away and put in technology for kids to play with instead. Just not a fan of everything going that way rather than employing workers to take orders and a place to let the kids burn off their energy and socialize.

    • Kcmiami

      I agree!!! Modernize means they get rid of the play rooms and replace them with tablets. So not only are the kids eating unhealthy but they don’t interact at all and get no physical activity. I visited a “modernized” one near my house once and would never go again.

      • Dana Edwards

        That’s a shame. Ours just opened back up and my daughter was concerned they were getting rid of the play area, but I drove through today and it’s still (back) there. Looks like it’s still too big for my 3 year old though.

    • Malinda

      They redid the ones where I live and put in the screens where you have to order yourself. I’m sorry I don’t work here. Don’t like this or the self checkouts. I walked out of that McDonald’s and right next door is Dairy Queen and they will take your order by person and deliver it to your table and the lunch special with a blizzard is only $6.

      • Josh

        You can still order at the register where a person will take your order. Plus they have to hire more people to assist you with the kiosk and bring your food to you at your table.
        If you actually watch how it works, you will see this actually increases their workforce but also helps get the technology crowd.

    • sus

      I agree!

  4. pure.Cheri

    To be honest…McDonalds is low on my list of eating out options. I haven’t been to one (on purpose) for over 3 years. They could do all of these renovations and I still would not want to eat their food. I’d rather spend a little more money and eat at Panera, with quality ingredients 😊

    • LS

      I agree! I stopped eating at McDonalds last year. And we’ve been eating at Panera more often – it’s much more expensive, but I’d rather spend more money putting quality food in my body. Just a realization that I finally came to. And I’m pretty frugal, so that says a lot.

    • kim

      Same! I wish they’d invest some of that money on better quality food. Every time my oldest asks if we can get mcdonalds I cringe. My youngest is 3 and doesn’t even know what mcdonalds is, lol. My plan is to keep it that way for as long as I can. And I’m not “one of those people” who hate all fast food either. I just think mcdonalds is pretty disgusting along with kfc, burger king, and taco bell.

      • Sam

        You had me all the way til the very end there… You shut your mouth about T Bell! It is delicious and above reproach.

        • Justine

          Ha ha. I love Taco Bell, too! Remember those Cantina bowls? Mmmm!

    • Love to save

      Yep. Wish they would invest that money instead on higher quality ingredients.

  5. liz

    Too bad they can’t afford to pay employees a living wage or anything…

    • Jill

      Exactly what I said just ridiculous that they care more about what there stores look like than paying there employees more than 8.00 a hr to start off!!!! Trust me I know I worked there for a short time.

    • M

      I agree on that. Plus my child wouldn’t use the modern potty at the new ones. It moves, and they where all clogged anyway because they are trying to limit staff, and replace with computers. The whole thing so less personal with all the machines to order from. I guess it cuts back on cashiers for them too.

      • Justine

        A moving potty?

    • Chris

      Disagree. I remember the days when fast food and grocery store jobs were for high schoolers and college students. I don’t think a high school student needs a “living wage”. Sorry!
      I don’t eat fast food, but my family and friends say they haven’t had mistakes with their special orders when they order from the ordering kiosk. Furthermore, who wants to pay double for a hamburger?

      • Stephanie

        Well I’m really happy that you are fortunate enough to not need to work there as an adult supporting a family. But there are thousands and thousands of people who need to earn enough to be able to LIVE (i.e. rent an apartment, buy necessities like food and gas, pay utilities, and maybe possibly save for their future) and work there. If only high schoolers worked at fast food restaurants and grocery stores, you’d complain that they weren’t run properly. Retail is NOT just a high schooler’s job. Have some respect for people who work hard and pay them decently.

        • Justine

          Well said! Out in the real world of the common working man and woman (like me!), the need to make a living wage is real. People of all ages work at McDonalds. There are plenty of parents and middle-aged adults that work at McDonalds – just trying to pay the bills and support their families. There are many immigrants who can only find work at minimum wage jobs, and I see them working at McDonalds, too. I make minimum wage; it is so hard, almost impossible, to make ends meet. And I don’t even have kids. I probably never will unless I become magically financially stable. . .

  6. natashask

    I wish that money was spend to better its food menu! ice cream cone is my only purchase from McDonald’s.

    • Dylan Fan

      The ice cream machine works?

    • Allison

      I’ve heard their soft serve is the one thing you should always stay away from. The machines are difficult to clean & there’s almost always mold 😖

  7. Leslie B

    I’d much rather see them use those billions of dollars towards paying employees living wages and/or offering healthier food options.

    • Chris

      Healthier food options.

    • Erin

      Sorry I don’t want healthier options lol. If I want healthy, I have lots of other choices. 😂

  8. TheQueenBee

    We don’t like the self order kiosks. They might be ok when you get used to them. Our family of 4 ordered using a kiosk, but my dad refused to use it. Those 3 went to the register, ordered, and got their food before we had finished figuring out how to order and customize on the kiosk (no pickles, pick drink flavors, no ice, etc). Btw, they just handed us cups to get our own drinks after that hassle and we had to go back for the chocolate milk. And the big digital menus changed while we looked at them, drove my dad crazy.

  9. Heather

    Maybe it’s just me, but every single time I go to McD’s, they get my order wrong. Every time. I’m fine with them replacing some employees, bc face it – healthcare requirements and remaking lots of wrongly made food is also expensive. If you can’t listen to me and get my order right, I don’t think you should get paid $15/hour. Not to mention, if fast food wages were increased that much, prices would go up – and skilled labor wages would remain the same…creating an even bigger wage gap.

    • T

      I agree with Heather. Every single time we go there they get our order wrong! Even if we order 3 things something is either incorrect or missing completely from the bag and yet they want $15!? I’m sorry but my husband who has been an EMT full time for 6 years makes $9 an hour. I will never support giving a Mcdonalds worker more money for not even being able to get an order right when men and woman who risk their lives daily don’t even make close to that! Just my opinion.

    • M

      They might want $15 but they get minimum wage and very few hours per week.

      • Za

        I feel bad for you, and your family because most retail/fast feed pays more than $9. an hour. What third world state does your family live in?

    • Chris

      Exactly! Fast food and grocery store jobs were once for high school/college students and retired adults (while teens are in school). They were not and shouldn’t be viewed as a job that should be paying living wages.

      • Nicole Z.

        I totally agree with you Chris!!!

      • JC

        Keys words – “Were once!”

        Some people simply do not have the means to further an education and work where they can.

  10. E

    This just makes me think of this one McDonald’s that still looks like it’s from the 80s at a rest stop in north jersey, on the garden state I think. Still has big figures of Ronald McDonald and the hamburglar. I can’t possibly be the only person who loves that decor. We rarely ever eat at McDonald’s, the one by our house doesn’t have a play place, so it’s a no-go with my kids.

  11. Jill

    My thing is they want to spend that much money to make things look better but only want to pay there employees 8.00 a hr!! I think they should use that money and pay there employees more!!!!

  12. Jessie

    I LOVE the mobile app, they have coupons daily, I have been using the $1 for any sandwich all summer long, and getting the artisan grilled chicken which is a $5+ sandwich here, so it saves me a lot. Daily BOGO, daily freebies, free McCafe with $1 purchase. Sometimes you will have to do 2 diff transactions like I will do 1 mobile order and another at the window to double dip the Q’s but its well worth the effort. Also screenshot the QR code for each coupon you like, because they may disappear from the app based on location but they always scan regardless.

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing, Jessie! I have liked using the app too! I LOVE grabbing new offers, I scored a Free iced coffee the other day!

  13. julie

    I only go to mcdonalds when I take my 5 year old to the play area. Their food is not good. If I do buy the food, I don’t mind if someone takes my order.

  14. Melanie

    I also find the kiosks confusing. When we encountered them, the restaurant had a staff member stationed there to assist us. What’s the point of installing the kiosks if you have to pay someone to stand there?

    • Chris

      To “train” customers on how to use them for when they no longer have cashiers taking orders.

    • JC

      They do the same thing at any self check out place. Walmart for instance has employees stationed to help with the machines.

  15. Ann

    They did our McDonald’s last month. They Should have put hand sanitizer at the kiosk. This is a good way to spread germs.

    • Dreylawn

      So are the play areas.

      • Amymae1100

        Yes! The play areas are always disgusting. I can’t take my kids there anymore. One I went to in Walmart had a roach crawling all over the drink dispensers. I told a worker there and he said we will take care of that and went back to what he was doing. I told them again and nothing so we left never to return. If they offered healthy options, no hormone beef would be nice, no nasty play areas (maybe outside ones liker sonics, idk) or tablets and kept the places clean then maybe I would give it another try and even be willing to pay more. I even quit getting my caramel machiatos I am addicted to! That’s a big deal!

    • Justine

      Our smartphones already have have a gazillion germs on them anyway . . . just wash your hands before eating.

  16. Rebecca

    We’ve had a couple around us remodeled, some really nice ones, still with play places, one ocean themed one(of course we are on the beach lol). However the closest one to our house recently finished their remodel….and it kind of looks like a prison lol. Blocky and grey and underwhelming. Not even a nice minimal look, if that’s what they were going for. Honestly we rarely eat there, but will grab Happy meals for the kiddos when we want something they’re not a fan of(like sushi).

    • Amymae1100

      McDonald’s by Joanne Gaines….LOVE! LOL!

  17. Fe

    Would love if they had more gluten free options no artificial dyes in their food or Annatto. Then our family could actually eat there. Haha They would make a killing using better ingredients because there is a huge need for many families with dietary needs. Taco Bell is actually worse ingredient wise for our family allergy issues.

  18. Allison

    We have multiple McD’s in our area (Triad NC) that have been remodeled like this. The table service really threw me for a loop LOL You still get up and get your own drink, napkins, ketchup, etc.

  19. Sarah

    Chick-fil-A is consistently beating McDonald’s in customer satisfaction surveys. They are considered more upscale, pay employees more, and also bring your food to your table. To me, it appears McDonald’s wants to compete with that. The difference though, no matter what renovations are made, is that Chick-fil-A is actually edible 🙂

    • kim

      Agreed! Only fast food I actually consider eating. It doesn’t make me sick and employees are pleasant.

    • Sam

      Yes but the politics of the family who privately owns it are pretty despicable. In-N-Out Burger is *also* privately owned by a conservative Christian family who does all the things that Chick-Fil-A does but they never tried to cripple the rights away from anybody.

      You have to be the change you want to see in the world you know? Therefore, they ain’t getting a cent from me.

    • Dana Edwards

      Yes, Chick fil a never messes up my order, the employees are SO friendly and polite, go out of their way to make sure you’re happy, and refill your drinks for you. Even on cow appreciation day it ran SO smoothly, we didn’t wait at all, even though there were a lot of people there. Better than McDs in every aspect

  20. Luv2save2

    I love McDonald’s! Saved me many times back in the day when you could get the American meal (cheeseburger, fries and a coke) for like a buck or 2. 😁 I still think they have the best fries too. I love the quarter pounder and Big Mac!

  21. Chris

    I’ve NO desire to see more jobs eliminated when they install kiosks in every McDonald’s. We refuse to use them in Mcds that are already updated. Just out personal opinion.

  22. Laurie m Villotta

    The kiosks are the way things are moving everywhere we continue to shop. It is no different than the self check outs at all the stores now which I really love. I anticipate in a few years most major retailers will cut they employees in half. Like another PP said that companies that do have health insr a minimum wage earner at $8/hr could never afford the premiums and surely not the deductibles. We really do not frequent MC’D, but I do love a Diet Coke every once in a while.

  23. Shari

    Hate the new kiosks! Pretty soon we won’t have to interact with anyone!!

    • Chris

      Good! Then orders will be correct if robots/machines were doing the orders.

  24. KSol

    Seems like a lot of money wasted. Perhaps they should concentrate on making a better burger, and bigger yogurt parfaits.

  25. Danielle

    While I understand what you are saying, literally everywhere I go, my order is wrong. EVERYWHERE. It is an ongoing joke with my friends and coworkers. They still deserve a living wage. They are still human beings who shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to feed their own families or find housing and deserve basic human decency. When they mess up my order, I ask nicely to have it fixed and they always make the error right and are apologetic. Your husband also should make a living wage. The cost of living has increased significantly faster then the minimum wage and that is the heart of the issue.

    • JC

      You are totally right Danielle.

  26. ThriftyChristy

    They just redid ours and I was concerned that they would remove the play area. Instead, they made it bigger and better!! It’s now a go-to place for me and my kids!

  27. Mitch

    I wish they would spend 2,000 and buy an ICECREAM MACHINE THAT ACTUALLY WORKS!!!!!!!

    • ColeyFro

      The ice cream machine is usually not broken. Most of the time they just say that because they just cleaned, or broke down the machine for cleaning. It’s too much of a hassle. This comes from my friend’s daughter. She has worked there for over a year.

  28. Amy

    I think we all saw this coming when some areas now force them to pay unskilled workers $15/hour. I don’t blame them for using technology to cut down on the payroll.

    • kharrington

      Thank you! I just tried to post something very similar!

    • Chris

      True! Good move on their part.

    • Justine

      “Unskilled” workers may not have the skills/education you hold in high regard, but that doesn’t mean they work any less hard or have to deal with large amounts of stress. Can you imagine having to make food quickly, deal with rude customers, cleaning up after messy people, etc. ? I once ate at a Carl’s junior and witnessed an amazing amount of multitasking and fast paced work on the part of the employees that I did not know was possible in a fast food restaurant. I now have a new respect for how hard they work and all they do.

  29. kharrington

    Ok! So here ya go! Yes they are upgrading and here is the reason why. They are taking out employees to save money. I get It! I live in VT where the minimum wage is over $10/hr. I’m talking quit school, get no education and flip burgers and get paid $10+ an hour. Our teachers who have full degrees get paid little more than that! Our nurses the same thing. NY is up to like $12 an hour. It’s crazy. We own a small business and to get anyone to even show up to work is a feat, throw an education or experience in there and forget it!

    • Chris

      Completely agree! Well said…

  30. Chris

    Of the 2, I would prefer healthier options over increased salaries.

  31. Debbie

    They have been doing this in China for years…we are just behind in the times

  32. lindak

    We stop regularly at McDonald’s when traveling cross country. Primarily to use the bathroom but we usually have a small meal too. Where else can 2 adults eat for about $6 total?

  33. Texas

    I don’t see any problem w/ having kiosks instead of cashiers…if anything, it’s a good thing. More jobs are created in using technology b/c you need people to design, manage, and repair those kiosks. In every industry, your skills set needs to be competitive in order to secure lucrative employment opportunities…so it’s everyone’s responsibility to adapt to the changing times and that might mean learning how to use technology in addition to serving fast food or bagging groceries. Otherwise yes, you might get replaced by a machine.

    As for McDonald’s itself, we’ll eat there very rarely (if we’re on the road and there’s nothing else for a while) but I don’t have hangups about the germs or the quality of food there. Carry Purell in your bag and just don’t eat it everyday…:shrug:

  34. Irene

    I find the new exterior renovation to be quite nice and modern looking, a look that will also last into the future. The interiors, however, aren’t nice at all. The colors are awful (black, orange) with huge graphics and uncomfortable tables and chairs. The kiosks aren’t user friendly either: it takes longer than at the counter! And if your order isn’t a Big Mac and fries (we like salads, unsweetened iced tea, and ice cream) you will have a heck of a time trying to order. As for the mobile app, that’s a good thing with great deals, but even that is getting worse as it often requires “mobile order and pay”. Too much money being spent on the wrong things, IMO.

  35. Francis Lavenz

    I agree. I think they should use the money to pay their employees better and provide them training that will enrich their lives. I just hope they don’t tear down the buildings and rebuild new ones like they did in my town. My family doesn’t go there anymore because when they tore down the building they also tore down our childhood memories. It is such a waste to send all that building material to a landfill and then rebuild a new building. I think they should just remodel and add on to the older buildings. Buildings are important because they hold memories in them and are a beacon to the community also. It is a better stuard to the environment to remodel or add on too.

  36. jimk

    Their digital screens for ordering are a nightmare for a tall person to see. I constantly have to squat down to see them. At least their dining rooms dont look like prisons like the new burger kings in my area.

  37. TS

    True, people may not have the means to further their education but they can not expect to be given $15 because of that when most people who did pay to further their education don’t even make that. It is ridiculous.

  38. T

    @Za…if that question was for me we are in FL and yes it is crazy.

  39. Chris

    Reread my message…. I said I remember a time when these jobs were for high school and college aged students. And I stated that high school students do NOT need to make a living wage. In the area I live in the workers are students. They definitely do not need a living wage.
    Furthermore, we as a community and country should be encouraging others to further their education through college, a trade school, or on the job training. Many community colleges and state university are offering free or reduced tuition. Many companies offering tuition assistance. There are also grants based on your income. Not everyone can be an owner of a business but they can achieve more when they have the mindset that they want more (and I’m not referring to asking for $15 minimum wage). I respect others who are they to help themselves and their families.
    I was a single parent working over 50 hours a work and managed to get not only a bachelors but a masters degrees. Grants and tuition assistance from my employer paid for me to do that. I wanted to better myself for my child. That’s the mindset we need to have.

  40. TJ

    I wonder if they ever asked the customers what THEY want?? To start with, better quality food ! Play areas for the kids to work off some energy and socialize not sit and stare at more electronic crap. Hire people that actually have a clue and can actually get your order right. It’s so bad here that when I do force myself to go there it’s, ok, throw some s*** in a bag and let me know what I owe you because the order won’t be right and the amount changes. No amount of complaining changes it either! Then they try and offer you a free sandwich — and they mess up that order!! As for a minimum wage of $15/hr for some of these clowns they hire, absolutely NOT! They sure haven’t earned the $15/hour here!! They need to invest in more and better training for these people, hiring them at a base rate and then see if they improve after training and continue improving and doing their job well and then EARN a better wage. Had my fill of entitlement that they “deserve” $15/hour. What ever happened to earning a raise??? And as for tearing down a perfectly good building?? Are you kidding me??? What a waste of money they could be applying to their food budget for better quality food!!

  41. Shannon

    Unfortunately that’s not the case at the McDonalds I’ve been in. You have to order at the kiosk. The cashier is only there to pay at once you’ve completed your kiosk order. I told her my son has a food allergy and I’d like to order at the counter and I was told no. They closed three of four registers and only need two people, in turn less employees. This is probably the future of McD. I’m a marketing teacher, and while I understand it, it’s horrible customer service. I hate the lack of interaction- call me old school!

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