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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #276

Culinary no-no's


Driving on South 76th Street near Southridge just before 1:00 this afternoon, I looked as I always do at the world-renowned restaurant. 

And I had the same gut reaction I always have whenever I pass by.



I’ll never forget the old McDonald’s that once sat there.


It’s rather old news that upper management at McDonald’s made a business decision to dump the popular Solid Gold McDonald’s motif and replace with a more modern look. Back in October 2010, I wrote in Culinary no-no #188:

The giant of all restaurant chains wants to tear down the Solid Gold McDonald’s at 5040 S. 76th St. and spend about $2 million to build a brand new replacement. That, of course, is their prerogative.

Greenfield reports:

“As part of the plan, the new sign would not use the words ‘Solid Gold.’ Less certain, but also a possibility, is that the interior's 1950s theme - with memorabilia, unique items on the walls and life-sized mannequins - would also be gone.

‘It's weathered, it's faded. … We're not 100 percent sure but we're probably going to come in with a new, up-to-date, upscale (interior),’ said Ernie Masucci, president of Illinois-based McEssy Investment Co., which bought the Solid Gold McDonald's in 2007 from Jim Patterson.”

Spoken like a true Illinois PR guy who doesn’t understand what’s been going on at that Greenfield location for years and years. Masucci claims all that memorabilia is fading, it’s in bad shape. Really? As often as I’ve been in the Solid Gold McDonald’s, I’ve never heard a soul complain as they order their Egg McMuffin that the Elvis figure looks bad.

The architect for the new McDonald’s says they want to give patrons a whole new look and experience. Well, excuse me, Mr. Architect, but what if the customers don’t want a whole new restaurant with a whole new look that doesn’t include all the cool stuff?

The S.76th street location wasn’t the only franchise to receive a face-lift. Golden Arches across the country now look like this…

WestTK 02 McDonalds Redesign: a New Era for Fast Food Restaurants

spring road interior 3 McDonalds Redesign: a New Era for Fast Food Restaurants

flagship 2 McDonalds Redesign: a New Era for Fast Food Restaurants

shh mcdonalds 0809 06 McDonalds Redesign: a New Era for Fast Food Restaurants

Big changes were practically inevitable since McDonald’s always seems to be under siege. The New York Times writes:

In the last year alone, nuns in Philadelphia, Seventh-day Adventists in California, doctors in Chicago and activists in Boston have warred with McDonald’s over its menu, its marketing, its mission or all of the above.”

McDonald’s responded aggressively.

New menu items included several Angus burgers, snack wraps, frozen smoothies and upgraded coffee drinks and hot chocolate.

Old menu items like the McRib exploded in popularity that even McDonald’s can’t explain. The Big Mac is selling so well it’s sending the price of McDonald’s shares skyward.

Despite a devastating economy, McDonald’s has refused to relinquish its pulverizing ad campaign that dominates all its competitors combined.

Recession? What recession?

Take your average McDonald’s, any McDonald’s. During 2011, that McDonald’s enjoyed $2.6 million in sales according to the New York Times. Overall, McDonald’s growth rate is up by almost 5 %.

Part of the rebound is attributed to McDonald’s new look. The old look was thought to resemble and feel too much like a cafeteria. Many franchise owners balked at the so-called “re-design,” regarding such dramatic change in such a recognizable brand as sacrilege. In the end, the high honchos won out.

And while a number of factors are contributing to McDonald’s success, they include the new construction that in some locations means solar panels, L.E.D. lights, and eco-toilets.

The New York Times reports "customers have reported that the food actually tastes better in a remodeled McDonald’s."

Sorry, but that’s just plain goofy.

More tangible is a category known as results. A typical remodeled McDonald’s has 6-7% sales growth over the market’s increase.

This afternoon as rain poured down from a very dark, gloomy sky, the drive-thru line at McDonald's on S. 76th was long. The parking lot was jammed.

I guess that’s why I’m not a corporate executive. Whatever. I still miss my Solid Gold.

Read more in the
New York Times.


Don't be nasty to your server.

Some might consider this a no-no. Not me.

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