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September 15, 2021

What's behind all these fast food chain makeovers?

On this day last week, McDonald’s Canada officially announced what many diners of the restaurant already knew: it’s undergoing a makeover.

Indeed, as several of the fast food chain’s locations have undergone fancy renovations of late, the restaurant publicly admitted it’d be spending $1 billion to renovate and refurbish most of its 1,400 Canadian outlets.

To the newly-redesigned restaurants will be Wi-Fi access, fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, stone and tile accents and improved seating. They will be, in the goal of the corporation, places you’ll feel comfortable staying long after your meal.

Well, on the heels of McDonald’s’ announcement, it looks like another storied fast food chain is remodelling. Save for her glorious head of hair, you may not recognize Wendy much longer.

Out of the U.S. comes news that Wendy’s will debut four new redesigned locations across the country. The four renovated restaurants will feature unique designs, from which a standard template will be selected based on customer feedback and market research.

*Bing: What’s the healthiest item on McDonald’s’ menu?

The redesigns will include many of the modern-chic staples McDonald’s will make standard at its restaurants: plenty of natural light, varied seating, including high-top bar-style chairs, café-style booths, upholstered chairs surrounding a fireplace, as well digital menu boards and a remodelled line system, meant to queue customers against the wall in an open concept, as opposed to the rat maze filter system traditional to Wendy’s.

On the surface, such fast food remodels are cosmetic changes, but make no mistake about it. They’re rooted in the fear of the obsolete.

The Vancouver Sun notes that McDonald’s has been losing ground to Tim Hortons for nearly a decade, after the coffee shop revamped its menu to include more breakfast and lunch options.

So to battle stagnation, then, the McDonald’s’ and Wendy’s’ of Canada (though no Canadian renovations have been announced) are being forced to adapt and spend billions to draw the public back in. It is a restaurant redesign as much as it is an image redesign.

Are you more likely to visit a McDonald’s or Wendy’s if the interior aesthetics are more pleasant? What do you make of the new redesigns at McDonald’s?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Photo courtesy QSRWeb.com.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...