Local restaurant torn down and then rebuilt back up

Perhaps things have changed, but a year or so ago, there was a biopic in theaters about Ray Kroc, and it showed that one of the big innovations was for McDonalds corporate to own the land under the franchised restaurants and lease it to the franchisee.

At some point, the grease trap just becomes uncleanable.

That and the ball-pit.

they got rid of the ball pits a while back due to the cleaning problems.

They tore down a Waffle House in my town and built what looks like its mirror image on the other side of the parking lot. This was about ten years ago when a new Walmart shopping center was going in next door and a lot of development was going on in the area anyway. Talking to the employees, it sounds like the place was a lot nicer than it had been and at least noticeably bigger on the inside. It looked the exact same size to me, but I didn’t work there everyday.

A year or so ago a Checker’s near me was closed and a new one opened several blocks away (alas, in a slightly less convenient location for me). The old one was demolished…or was it? (spoiler - not really).
Checker’s is expanding its store count using modular construction as detailed in this article (Note: the old one was similar to this style, except it only had one driver-thru window.) I can’t be certain the new Checker’s was modular construction as I didn’t observe it, but seems likely (it has indoor seating now, while the old one had only the outdoor concrete benches and tables)
Anyway, the central section of the old Checkers was removed in one piece (at least the outer shell) and placed on a flatbed trailer to be shipped out (While I didn’t get a cool image of this Checkers module on the trailer I have a very good reason - I’m an idiot :mad:). The drive-thru awning may have been disassembled and taken away as well, I don’t know; they did dig up the old foundation so they could build a new Starbucks on the site.

That’s what just happened to the first McDonald’s that opened in my town. It dated from 1963 and still had the giant **“M” **arches in front of it, It had been remodeled and expanded at least once but was obsolete as far as the company was concerned is they leveled the building, filled in the basement, and constructed a much smaller structure with more drive-thru lanes.

If you’re really interested, you could look at the City of Austin building permit & tear-down permit. They usually have information in them.

Certainly tearing everything down and rebuilding it is a lot cleaner for the accountants, as you can record a disposition of the old asset and then a construction of a new one. There wouldn’t ever be an impact on previous tax returns or financial statements, though if you do decide to renovate you may have to dig back into your records to see exactly what you paid for the specific things that you are replacing so that you write off those specific costs fully, something you don’t have to worry about if you just get rid of the whole building.

For those that own the land, from a financial accounting perspective, it is a very good thing to tear an entire building down rather than make repairs, because you don’t have to expense the cost of tearing down a building in order to reuse your land - you book it as an additional cost of the land. This financial reporting rule is not necessarily true in tax-land; though you probably can’t immediately expense the costs of the demolition, you can likely include them as part of the depreciable basis in the new building and thus eventually deduct them, while the costs remain sitting on your financial statements’ balance sheet as an asset. I’m not an expert in the tax treatment of building renovations and such compared to rebuilding, so I don’t know for sure.

There was a Wendy’s not far from my house that closed a few years ago; it’s now a branch for a local credit union. The building was gutted and remodeled from the inside out.

Had something similar happen here a few years back. There was a two story bank building that had been in operation for about 10 years that was torn down and rebuilt with little notice.

The reason, according to a usually well informed friend, was that the original foundation hadn’t been properly prepared which led to settling making the building unsafe. Not sure how they worked out liability for that, but I’m sure everyone’s lawyers were well paid at the end of it.

They knocked down the Chick-fil-a near me a couple years ago and rebuilt it on the same spot. The primary difference I noticed was they added a second drive through window in a little separate building just off the main building, with an overhead conveyor bringing the orders out. Kinda cool, actually. They also reconfigured the parking lot so that drive through traffic didn’t back up onto the street.

LOL…I remember that. They left the OLD WH standing until the new one was finished.
I ran the St Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread) right next door.

I think the accounting rule for major renovations would be similar to “I bought a truck for $50,000, depreciated it to $5,000, and sold it for $10,000.” that results in a gain of $5,000 that has to be accounted for. Similarly, taking a $2M building, depreciate to $100,000 asset and doing $1.4M of renovations and ending up with a building assessed at $2.5M means that extra $1M has to be accounted for. Not sure if it can be spread backwards, forwards or is a one-time profit, or what. But certainly fully disposing of the old building is cleaner. Similarly, it’s cleaner to separate the building ownership accounting and the restaurant operations accounting.

I’ve seen this before. They take out the child play center and focus on drive-through space. The play area never made much economic sense but a faster drive through does.

Only in America can you say, “a local restaurant” and actually mean, “national chain.” Here in Canuck-land, a local restaurant means some privately owned joint. But I digress.

I think my (local) Tim Hortons has had half a dozen different decors in the last ten years. If they had to teat that one down, only to rebuilt its clone, I would assume infrastructure problem (road rebuild, widening, exit ramps, etc.) may have been a factor.

I heard they had to widen a D.C. McDonalds drive-thru to fit a Boeing 747.

Yep! I bet that’s it

Just the possibility of mold is reason enough for corporate fast food chains to rebuild, that and grease that just get’s everywhere over time. Step into an old style burger joint (like say a White Castle) and you feel greasy just walking in the door. The big profitable chains have existing modern upgrades off the shelf available at a very reasonable cost, easier to take down and replace after a set period of time determined by the bean counters. Whether it really needs it or not its more profitable to them to appear clean and fresh, why wait until you actually have mold or an uncontrollable cockroach problem?

Oh, Hell! Just combine the two and call it good!

My brother is a Master Plumber, and the Red Lobster on Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas was one of his clients. The plumbing was such a nightmare, the drains filled with a mixture of grease and bits of lobster/shrimp shells that they would have had to shut it down and jackhammer up the floors to completely replace them that they did just that - tore it down and built a brand new one in the same place.