New concept McDonald's for Times Square

McDonald’s has reopened one of its flagship branches after a redesign. The prominent corner site in Times Square in New York City has been given an evolved version of the global branch format developed for McDonald’s by Landini Associates.

The three storey restaurant has a more pared back approach to the colourful graphic environments of McDonald’s branches. The interior walls feature abstractions of the brand’s famous golden arches logo, framing the view outside.

The store seeks to present a calm environment, as a respite from the bustle of Times Square. A full height glass curtain wall allows for spectacular views for diners, and provides high levels of natural daylight. This is supplemented with a computerised lighting system that allows dramatic shifts in lighting for different times of day

A vibrant yellow staircase introduces a pop of colour.

The store has the third largest digital billboard in Times Square, measuring 862 sq m (9,280 sq ft).

Food is brought from the basement kitchen via a dumb waiter system, providing more dining space and helping to create the required calm environment.

A variety of seating options has been provided to cater for individuals and groups, with zones defined by different materials. Zine, concrete, and oak tables and benches are used. Table service has been introduced to improve the customer experience.

Customers can choose from multiple ordering points. Interactive kiosk stations allow them to order, customise and pay for meals, while there are also traditional service and pick-up points for take away orders.

“This new Flagship represents a commitment to building a better McDonald’s, showcasing the experience of the future for our customers,” says McDonald’s senior director Max Carmona. “Digital technology is reshaping customer interactions through models like table service, mobile order and payment, self-order kiosks and delivery focused on making delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. With over 50 million visitors passing through Times Square annually, the restaurant is designed to accommodate one of the largest volumes of customer transactions in the US”.

“The new design is aimed at offering customers a calm respite from the non-stop action of Times Square. We used a timeless material palette of concrete, stainless steel, oak and glass as a backdrop of “recognisable neutrality” promoting the service, the product, and the people who come to enjoy it,” adds Landini Associates design director Wayne Cheng.

The branch concept designed by Landini Associates is known as Project Ray, after McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. It made its debut in Hong Kong in 2015, and iterations of it have been rolled out in Australia, Asia, Europe and the US. UK branches, including a flagship branch on London’s Oxford Street, use the format. Branches are scheduled to open in Moscow and Sao Paulo.

Photography: Andrew Meredith

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?