McDonald's is moderninizing its store locations because "People eat with their eyes first"

In 2003, McDonald's initiated a "Plan to Win" growth strategy, with menu innovation, store renovation, and ordering experience upgrades being its three pillars.

McDonald's menu innovation has centered around items like snack wraps, sweet tea, and their McCafe concept. The result? Company stock is up 437% and the average annual store gross is up by 25% over the past six years to around $2 million.

Next up is store renovation. "People eat with their eyes first," says president and COO Don Thompson. "If you have a restaurant that is appealing, contemporary, and relevant both from the street and interior, the food tastes better."

McDonald's is allocating $2.4 billion to modernize at least 400 locations in the U.S., refurbish 1,600 restaurants internationally, and build another 1,000 new stores. The company has started in Europe and in Asia-Pacific with newly designed restaurants and are seeing upticks in sales.

In the U.S. the company has been testing new architectural designs in places like Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Kearney, Missouri. Fast Company reports that the company recently reported a 6% to 7% sales jump at U.S. stores that had been redesigned.

And, an interesting affect of the new designs: the company says that he new look even makes customers more likely to try new menu items.

From Fast Company:

"As the younger generation starts to see McDonald's as a place you go to eat instead of just picking up food, you could very well change their behavior for years to come," says Darren Tristano of restaurant consultancy Technomic. "The next step," he says, "is to draw people in for a dining experience."

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