Upscaling Mcdonald's

So the cloistered minions at McD’s are always trying to come up with some new food variation to inflict on us, but it seems that this time they’re really thinking different – maybe. Who knows how far this will go. But it seems to consist of an upscale restaurant experience with large buffet bars, healthy foods, and even table service, currently being trialed on a limited basis.

I just thought it was interesting. Anyone been to a McDonald’s Next?

A salad is only as healthy as the dressing you DON’T put on it. But it does seem like you can eat more healthily there that at the standard joint, if you put your mind to it.

Haven’t seen a McDonald’s Next, although I rarely patronize Mickey D’s anyway, but when I was in junior high in the late 1970s, we took a band trip to Minneapolis and stopped for dinner at a downtown McDonald’s that was quite fancy. It had trees in it, mirrors, etc. and knowing what I do now, I would have thought “Roman bath”. Then, in the early 1990s, I was again in Minnesota, this time to canoe the Boundary Waters, and on the way back, we stopped at one in a small town off the Interstate (don’t remember where right now) and we all noticed an odd ambience about it. I finally realized that it looked like a bathroom, being decorated in shades of mauve, pink, and lavender. :eek:

Around that same time, Burger King briefly offered higher-priced entrees with table service. A friend and I went there for this, and weren’t particularly impressed. That didn’t last long either.

Why would anyone who wanted any of that go to McDonald’s?

The interesting question is that they may be re-evaluating their basic business model. Are you looking for the most profitable ways to serve junk food? Or are you looking for the best ways to optimize profit within an existing food-franchise model? The different perspective can be all the difference in the world.

I posted that because I thought the futuristic look of that McDonald’s was prescient. They may or may not prevail long into the future, but regardless of whether they do or don’t, the future of fast food will probably look something like that. Namely, not “crap that I’ll eat because I damn well like it, and spare me the facts about how unhealthy it really is” but stuff that you can buy that is actually not bad for you.

There’s a McDonald’s in my hometown that has a Chihuly sculpture in it. (Although one site I found said it’s a knockoff.)

That’s what I was thinking. The world is enjoying a meat-on-bun renaissance these days; In-N-Out, Whataburger, Five Guys, Steak-N-Shake, Smashburger, and probably a few others. Their business models have fewer menu choices (focusing on burger-fries-drink almost exclusively), more emphasis on quality, and a slightly higher price. The way those chains have been expanding, that model seems to be working. I’ve been wondering how McDonald’s would respond. I expect this Next model is part of that, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them try the opposite approach, too; open some scaled down locations that try to take on the newcomers at their own game.

I don’t know if I’m a ‘typical’ McDonald’s visitor, I may go once every six months, and usually only when I need an easy fix, because I’ve been several times in the past and the food has made me feel ill, while the coffee has been dire.

This hasn’t actually happened for several years but I still have that idea in mind, and only a sea-change in McD’s menu will change my mind on that. The Next concept looks good but I will be very sceptical unless at least the majority of the food was truly healthy (and online sources confirmed this) and those chairs don’t painfully scrape on a marble floor.

I read an article a while ago about Macdonands now struggling in the modern marketplace, with gourmet burger chains taking a lot of their business, and over expansion meaning there’s empty drive throughs all around the place.

Local to me there’s a drive through (in uk) which I can’t see anyone using very much. There’s about another 2 not much further away. Their city centre McD’s is busy, but I think its the rest which are the problem…

Could be a reaction to that…

I remember KFC tried something like this in Dallas over 20 years ago.

They served REAL mashed potatoes, fresh (whole) corn on the cob, green beans with bacon and onion. And their homemade cornbread was to die for. They had homemade pot pies too. I never tried one though.

Too bad their experiment didn’t work out. I frick’n LOVED that place.

Well, I hope so. The proliferation of burger places Robot Arm mentions would have to die back, in this vision. And I can’t really bring myself to believe that McDonald’s will have any place in it; it would mean essentially repudiating everything their brand has ever been.

It’s worth noting that “McDonalds” can occupy a really different niche in other countries, particularly in Asia. In many emerging markets, the McDonalds brand is fun, modern, and a little exotic. Unlike the US versions, overseas McDonalds tend to be very clean, staffed with the best of the best, and appointed with upscale modern furnishings.

It’s someplace where you might take a first date or host a kids party when you are showing off. When a McDonalds opens in your city, you might think “Wow, we’ve really arrived.” It’s kind of like IKEA is here- not upscale, but novel and excitingly cosmopolitan.

But that reputation isn’t going to stay that way forever. Local competitors have had time to refine their approach, and local tastes are getting more sophisticated. Health has quickly become a part of people’s consciousness. And increased travel means the taint McDonalds has in the US could rub off.

So, in short, we might not be the real audience for this. And it might work. Lots of downscale US brands have cultivated completely different reputations abroad. In China, Budweiser is a premium beer, Pizza Hut is an expensive sit-down restaurant, and Revlon is only sold at fancy department stores.

Good point.

I’ve eaten at some of the places mentioned by Robot Arm and yes, the food tastes better. But there are, relatively, very few of those restaurants and they’re generally more expensive than McDonalds. And as said, they have much smaller menus. One of the problems with McDonalds today is that the menu has grown to the point of being bloated. It’s gotta be difficult for the franchise operator to stock and prepare all of those various items.

To my mind, the only reasons to go to McDonald’s are convenience or as a sort of a treat (because I love junk food and very rarely allow myself to have any). I also have a hard time imaging anything from McDonald’s not having that “McDonald’s taste”, as if grease has permeated everything. Which is not necessarily bad, since that’s what I’m looking for every once in a while, but the thought of a Mcsalad is truly revolting to me.

I’m starting to gather based on the last dozen or so posts in a couple of threads that don’t paint McDonald’s in the most positive light that Peremensoe may not be their biggest fan.

I think a lot of people think the same way. Also, McDonald’s is very big on having short wait times. An issue with the breakfast all day has been how it makes it take longer to get food. Even if they have a super efficient system, the buffet type line will make things slower. Not extremely slow necessarily, but slower than people want/expect from McDonald’s.

I could see the McDonald’s Next opening up in a lot of countries, but I’d be surprised if many were in the US. One of the biggest fast food successes in recent years was KFC’s Double Down sandwich. I’m guessing more fast food places in the US, including McDonald’s, will be going more that direction, with having more unhealthy gimmick indulgences on their menus.

mrAru and I were very fond of the Rotissery Gold whole roast chicken at KFC back in the mid 90s - the skinless chickn pieces they started serving when they removed the rotisseries were overbrined and salty, while the rotissery stuff had excellent unbreaded skin and decent seasoning.

I remember back in the 80s when Wendy’s had decent salad and pasta bars with toppings for the baked potatoes.

I happen to like salad bars and buffets where you can pick and choose. As was pointed out, you don’t have to load a salad up with hyper amounts of stuff like fatty dressings and cheese. If you are really serious about sticking to oil and vinegar, online sourcing the little one oz shot bottles’ ofoil and vinegar is not difficult, is my go to source for travel size everything. [and my favorite item is this little individually packaged towel of some coarse cotton fabric with nothing but lemon water, no aloe or alcohol =) ]

Here’s a local McDonald’s.

We have Disneyworld in America, too.:wink:

That’s nice, but it’s presumably not a typical location in your area, or else it wouldn’t have appeared in a Daily Mail spread on the “world’s most bizarre McDonald’s outlets.”