The owner of the soon-to-be-rebuilt McDonald’s on Lavergne and Madison sees the more than $2 million project as a catalyst to attract more businesses along that thoroughfare. But the restaurant’s owner, Ron Lofton, says he needs residents help to do that.
“I am hoping that other businesses see the results of investing back in our community,” he said. “I am hoping that our community customers understand that in order to get people to reinvest in our communities, we have to be good customers to support the businesses in our community and not tear them down. Let’s reinvest in ourselves.”
And Lofton, the president of the Black McDonald’s Operator Association of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, is sparing no bells and whistles with the restaurant, located 5015 W. Madison. The original restaurant was built in 1985 and was long overdue for a makeover. Lofton purchased the store in 2002.
Set to open in September, patrons will be greeted with a more modern, sleeker restaurant with Internet access, digital menu boards and a two-lane drive thru.
New to this restaurant, will be a new service feature where patrons will be called by an order number instead of the ordered items.
“As oppose to placing an order and waiting for your food to come up, a number will be posted on a digital screen,” Lofton said. “So the service should be better. The drive-thru should be faster. The order should be more accurate.”
He said customers deserve the same amenities found at suburban McDonald’s restaurants which underwent modernizations a few years earlier.
“Technology changes every day,” he said. “Sometimes it is better to come later, than be the first out of the chutes, because now they are going to be playing catch up to me.”
The aim is to make the restaurant appealing to McDonald’s core customers —Millennials.
Millennials, also called “Generation Y,” are classified as those born after 1982.
Lofton said the interior decor mirrors an upscale restaurant, a concept corporate McDonald’s is doing nationwide.
“We are modernizing our entire system,” he said. “They are like every other company — really focusing on Millennials, the tastes of the Millennials.”
“It is much more conducive to today’s customers,” Lofton added
Lofton and his wife, Lillian, own five west side McDonald’s restaurants and similar plans are in the works for their other locations. The facility on Madison and Western Ave. will undergo renovations in October, while the Roosevelt and Kedzie store is slated for 2015. Lofton has been a McDonald’s owner/operator for 20 years.
After spending nearly 15 years in corporate America, Lofton wanted to branch out on his own after making money for others. Even though he followed his entrepreneurial spirit, he said becoming a business owner was about leaving a legacy for his son, Ron Lofton Jr.
The younger Lofton works in community relations promoting the family’s philosophy of giving back by partnering with schools and churches.
“We have to lead the charge in re-gentrifying our community by being good citizens, by being good customers, working together to make sure that we are the best that we can be,” Lofton said.