McDonald’s made over its iconic Chicago restaurant to be its most futuristic-looking eatery yet, and its new U.S. flagship. The 19,000-square-foot space designed by Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects is full of floating glass gardens, touch-screens, and 27-foot windows. Even though the former “Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s” at the corner of Clark and Ontario now looks more like an Apple store than a place to get a Big Mac, rest assured it still carries all the fries, McNuggets, and McGriddles you could ever want.
"We are proud to open the doors to this flagship restaurant, which symbolizes how we are building a better McDonald's for our customers and the communities where they live," McDonald's president and CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a press release. “We have iconic flagship restaurants all around the world, but I would say that given that Chicago is the heartbeat of not just our U.S. business but our worldwide business, that we are standing here in the global flagship restaurant.”
The site had been home since 1983 to a rock 'n' roll-themed McDonald's location, complete with memorabilia. The renovation preserved only the building's kitchen.
The incredibly futuristic eatery will remain open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but the new restaurant nixes Beatles and Elvis paraphernalia in favor of self-order kiosks, table service, mobile order and pay, and delivery, plus a standalone McCafé area. There are also more than 70 trees at ground level and on-site solar panels that, according to Curbed Chicago, are expected to cover 60 percent of the building’s electrical demands.
McDonald’s latest building embodies the brand’s “Experience of the Future” initiative that 5,000 U.S. McDonald’s locations are already a part of. McDonald’s plans to transform all of its restaurants by 2020. No wonder they are one of the 10 biggest burger chains of 2018.