Local franchise owners unveiled plans for their McDonald’s of the future on Tuesday.
The new, 6,500-square-foot restaurant is expected to open in July. It may be one of the largest in a four-state area, according to owner Chris Habiger.
Habiger and his wife, Karri Habiger, own six locations in St. Joseph and the McDonald’s in Mound City, Missouri.
The restaurant at 3504 N. Belt Highway was closed and demolished about three weeks ago. Crews continue to work on the site in ground preparation for the new building. According to a building permit, construction and parking lot costs are an estimated $1.59 million.
Habiger said a lot has changed for McDonald’s in the last 40 years in St. Joseph. As customers connect with smart devices and social media, food choices, too, have evolved.
“Today’s customers seek a comfortable and inviting atmosphere,” he said. “So we’re committed to providing a modern look and feel to this restaurant.”
The plan is to focus on casual dining and quick service by incorporating earthy tones with couches and arm chairs to larger-than-life kiosks to take customized orders.
The kiosks will not replace actual employees. Habiger said that the company, Habiger West, plans to hire 85 new employees in the next several months.
However, Habiger said the kiosks will enhance customer service by allowing customers to personalize their burger or chicken sandwich orders. With this option comes McDonald’s newest feature: all-you-can-eat french fries.
“There really are hundreds of different choices to build the burger of your dreams,” he said. “Once you’ve placed your order, you can find your seat because we’ll bring it out to you.”
The dessert menus will have a similar customizable option.
But the biggest concern from the community was the play place.
Habiger said he’s answered many questioned about whether or not the new restaurant will have another play area.
“And the answer is ‘absolutely,’” he said. “We’ve packed a number of new and innovative features in to our play place.”
There will be interactive light board tables, tabletop video games with different gaming options, and digital play.
The play equipment will have multiple stories with a separate party room nearby, with a dedicated staff to attend to private party needs.