The “McDonald’s Experience of the Future” has been a popular phrase in the fast-food chain’s recent media materials, but there hasn’t been much explanation to what that meant. The answers, it appears, are inside McDonald’s new 6,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor of its new Chicago corporate headquarters in the West Loop. While the chain has slowly rolled out touch screen ordering kiosks, UberEats delivery, and mobile ordering, it hasn’t effectively combined all its modernization efforts under one roof — until now. The new restaurant opened on Wednesday morning at 110 N. Carpenter Street while the company will open the rest of its new nine-story headquarters in a few weeks.
Yes, this McDonald’s has a one-of-a-kind menu with a selection of items previously only offered at its international locations. There’s a spicy chicken sandwich from Hong Kong and a soft-serve ice cream treat from Brazil with strawberry sauce and chocolate-covered coconut candies. These items will rotate every few months. Maybe eventually Chicago will get a taste of the Lamb McSpicy from England or bulgogi burger from South Korea. There are also baristas and a full espresso bar.
The space is, well, modern. Touch phone chargers are built into tables. The menus are video screens. There’s a clean design that feels like customers could be wearing turtlenecks and waiting for pour over coffees.
While there’s no parking, there are two spaces reserved for customers who ordered using the mobile app and another two spaces for UberEats. Owner-operator Nick Karavites said if mobile customers pick up their order and want to eat in their parked car, that’s cool. A sidewalk cafe is planned to debut early this summer. McDonald’s officials said they don’t intend to apply for a liquor license.
McDonald’s hopes to modernize all of its restaurants by 2020, according to a spokesperson. Not every location will have the features showcased at this new restaurant. The franchisee will decide if a restaurant will have amenities like cordless chargers; it’s an option that’s part of the chain’s modernization package.
Stroll though McDonald’s swanky new Randolph Street restaurant below. It also serves the restaurant’s regular menu.
McDonald’s, 110 N. Carpenter Street, open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily