The old building, at 1015 Quintard, was razed three months ago. In its place is the first example in Calhoun County of McDonald’s new look for the new millennium, a hip redesign of its 30,000 eateries that the company started rolling out in 2006, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
“This is the new design that McDonald’s is going to,” said Treasa Webb, assistant vice president for CLP Corp., which owns 43 McDonald’s franchises in the area.
Out: Big, red sloping roof. In: flat roof, with a subtle yellow swoop across the top that looks like a leaner, meaner version of one of the Golden Arches.
Inside, the Oxford store is sleek and modern. Gone are the brightly colored plastic chairs, replaced with brushed stainless steel. The walls are paneled in dark wood, or decorated with graphics in black, white and sage green (no Hamburglar murals in sight). It looks less like a McDonald’s and more like the Starbucks next door.
It’s part of an upscale revamping that’s been going on at McDonald’s for some time, including healthier menu items, fancy salads and premium coffee drinks.
At the Oxford store, the indoor children’s play area is drastically reduced, only three plastic objects to clamber on: a hollow tree, a hollow log and a ladybug. It is supposed to be reserved for ages 3 and younger, but that rule has been repeatedly ignored.
“The boys were running around and pushing us off,” said 4-year-old Mileah Prince of Oxford, who came for the grand opening on March 31 and returned on Monday. Added mom Michele Prince: “There were 7- and 8-year-old boys trying to figure out a way to play in here. They were standing on the log and trying to jump through the tree.”
Elsewhere on Monday morning, a group of teenagers from Columbus, Ga., sat perched on stools. They decided to stop when they saw the giant Ronald McDonald balloon from the Interstate. Why were they at Mickey D’s instead of Starbucks next door? Isn’t there a law that teenagers have to go to Starbucks?
“If I had to choose between Starbucks and McDonald’s, I’d take McDonald’s every time, because they have Egg McMuffins,” said Remy Summers, 17.
On the other side of the store, two retired gentlemen lingered over coffee (regular blend, black), enjoying complimentary copies of the Anniston Star and Fox News on the flatscreen TVs.
“Now, my daughter prefers Starbucks over anything, but I don’t like Starbucks. Their coffee is too strong,” said Rev. William Foster of Oxford. Not to mention more expensive.
Herman Watkins, a truck driver from Atlanta, sat in a nearby booth, laptop computer open on the table in front of him, taking advantage of the store’s new free wi-fi.
Also new is the double drive-through out back. The drive-through lanes are open 24 hours; the lobby is open till 2 a.m.