TWINSBURG – Signs of the times have come to the golden arches, as McDonald's is in the process of modernizing its restaurants inside and out by 2019.
The McDonald’s on E. Aurora Road in Twinsburg has the new, cleaner look, with a charcoal gray and black aesthetic and more subtle golden arches outside, and kiosks from which customers can order within the restaurant.
Owner/operator Steve Payne, who began working at McDonald's in 1966 and now owns 19 McDonald's restaurants in Northeast Ohio, says the new system gives people options and has streamlined operations.
“You can scroll through our entire menu and pick your favorites, customizing them however you like,” Payne said. “Then you can pay with a credit card right there or you can pay cash by going to the cash register after you finish your order.”
The changes aren’t going over well with everyone.
Casey Russin, 65, said he and other seniors prefer the face-to-face interaction with a person at a counter, rather than a kiosk.
“I want to talk to someone,” Russin said. “Most seniors feel the same way.”
McDonald's isn't the only place using new technology, though, Russin admits.
“We have to pump our own gas and self check-out at the grocery stores,” Russin said. “I know how to use them. I don't choose to use them.”
Russin also said he wants a choice.
“We're from the old generation,” Russin said. “I have a smart phone but a dummy is using it.”
Payne says customers can still order at the counter, which is smaller now, with two or three registers and void of clutter. If people order at one of the four kiosks, they can pay using a credit or debit card there, or by using credit or cash at the register.
The kiosks have large touch keys and pictures of the food available to order with additional options.
Service reps in the dining room are available to help guests use the kiosks, Payne said. They can also enter orders and will bring the meal to the table.
Payne says many seniors also work at McDonald's and enjoy interacting with others.
“They're great workers, the customers love them and they have a great work ethic,” Payne said.
While the old menus ran the entire length of the long counter and had time limits on certain items, digital menu boards behind the counter and at drive throughs show everything available at the time of ordering.
With the new ordering system, customers don't need to carry their orders to their table, either.
“We want to make it customer-friendly,” Payne said. “People with kids don't have to carry trays.”
The new system has added staff, especially in the kitchen, since there are more ordering points.
“We want our guests to enjoy their experience with us from beginning to end through whatever order point they choose,” Payne said. “We’re working to deliver a great experience with great food and beverages at the speed of McDonald's.”
In Summit County, nine of the 32 McDonald's already have the kiosks and digital menu boards; mobile order and pay; as well as “McDelivery” through Uber Eats, which delivers to people within a 3-mile radius of the restaurant. All of the McDonald’s will transition to the new look and features by 2019.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org