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BizBeat: Linn McDonald's to get modern facelift

BizBeat: Linn McDonald's to get modern facelift

August 20th, 2017 by Philip Joens in Business

The McDonald's restaurant in Linn, which is owned by the Ruprecht family of Jefferson City, will soon be undergoing a total renovation.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

A decades-old McDonald's in Linn will be rebuilt over the next six weeks in an extensive renovation that will bring the location into the 21st century.

Butch Ruprecht, who owns seven McDonald's franchises in Mid-Missouri, said construction at the Linn location will start in the last week of August. The building will get a new exterior and interior. It will also get upgrades like self-service kiosks, digital drive-thru menus and the ability for customers to order using their smartphones.

Ruprecht bought the Linn location four years ago. He estimated the location is at least 25 years old.

The renovation will also bring the store a new seating area and new McDonald's PlayPlace. Its new exterior will have the "boxy" look of a modern McDonald's.

"It's the first major remodel since it was built," Ruprecht said. "It's going to be like a whole new restaurant. It won't look like the same store."

After buying the store, Ruprecht made several upgrades to the kitchen and working areas. He wants the store to have a fresh look and give customers the comfort of coming to a modern store. His franchise business will spend more than $1 million on the remodel.

"We've been re-investing ever since we bought it," Ruprect said. "Since purchasing it, we had to fix a number of things. Now it's time to make a tremendous reinvestment for our customers."

During the renovation, which will last six to seven weeks, the interior will be closed for a short period while the existing booths, soda machines and PlayPlace are removed. New booths, freestanding seats, soda machines, a PlayPlace, and even new bathrooms and a new parking lot will be installed.

Ruprecht said the exterior will be the first part renovated, then the PlayPlace, before finally the seating area, which will close the restaurant for an undetermined length of time. The Linn location is open 5:30 a.m.-11 p.m. every day but Friday and Saturday, when the store is open until midnight. The stores's drive-thru will remain open during normal drive-thru hours.

"We are going to try to work the schedule to keep it open as much as possible," he said of the seating area.

The Linn store will be the first in the Jefferson City area to be fitted with McDonald's new self-serve kiosks. The kiosks stand several feet tall and look like giant iPads that allow customers to order items via touch-screen and pay electronically. McDonald's plans to roll out the self-serve kiosks to 2,500 U.S. restaurants by the end of 2017.

Ruprecht said the self-serve kiosks fit the "modern-traditional" design of new McDonald's locations. He also hopes to install the kiosks in his six other stores as he updates them.

The drive-thru at the Linn location also will get a facelift. Digital menus, like ones inside the store, will sit at the drive-thru. Ruprecht said this will make it easier on the staff because the menus will be pre-programmed to change from the breakfast to lunch menu at 10:30 a.m. each day.

Customers will be able to order in advance via the McDonald's app and will be able to make mobile payments on their smartphones. Customers using the app can also opt to have orders taken out to their cars.

Previously, the Jefferson City location at 3124 S. Ten Mile Drive served as one of McDonald's mobile ordering test locations in the state. Ruprecht said mobile ordering will be available at all of his other locations in Jefferson City in about a week.

For Ruprecht and McDonald's, the shift to digital ordering represents the future of fast-food. He said the goal is not for every customer to use the app because he understands many customers still want to order in stores and use cash. If a small percentage of customers use the app to order and pay, it could speed up wait times at the drive-thru, he said.

"It's moving to the future," he said. "It lays the groundwork for all kinds of things, maybe digital couponing, things like that personalized to you."

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