McDonald’s to get the Starbucks design treatment

McDonald’s is to spend upwards of a billion dollars upgrading its 14,000 or so US restaurants (and presumably ones around the world too at some stage) to make them look more inviting (not difficult) so that more people linger over a coffee and then decide to eat something.

Just like Starbucks in fact, which is itself in the process of a makeover.

US design director Max Carmona prefers to use the analogy of Apple stores (well he is a design director): “We’re not trying to be Apple but we can be inspired by them. When you’re inside an Apple store, you almost feel like you’re inside an iPad — and you want to stay there. We want people to walk into McDonald’s and have the same feeling.”

This is what it’s supposed to look like.

It’s easy to mock of course and McDonald’s has done a remarkably good job of ditching as much of its tacky heritage (like Ronald McDonald, has he finally been laid to rest?) as it feels it can. The consistency of its management (and advertising) sets it apart from its burger flipping rivals.

Your correspondent has always struggled to see how making it easy for customers to lounge in comfy chairs for hours while they surf the internet can possibly be profitable for a restaurant business or indeed coffee chain.

But clearly it is.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.