Mac is Back

By on July 29, 2015

Rebuilt McDonald’s  to open Sept. 3 at Cloister Shopping Center

by PATRICK BURNS

Following much anticipation, a rebuilt, two-story McDonald’s in the Cloister Shopping Center is expected to open Sept. 3.

Street view of new McDonald's at Cloister Shopping Center

Street view of new McDonald’s at Cloister Shopping Center

Franchisee Kristen Fraser, who operates four McDonald’s with her parents Bill and Joanne Brown of York, said the layout is unusual for a  McDonald’s.

“This McDonald’s is the reverse of any you’ve been to,” Fraser said. “The drive-thru window and the service counter are on opposite sides.”

The previous restaurant on the site closed last June after a fire in a storage area destroyed much of the building.

Fraser confirmed there was speculation that the replacement

View from the dining room to parking lot of McDonald's at Cloister Shopping Center.

View from the dining room to parking lot of McDonald’s at Cloister Shopping Center.

McDonald’s would be moved to the other side of the Cloister Shopping Center’s parking lot at 140 N. Reading Road, or even built near existing buildings near Martin Avenue.

“But that was never our consideration,” she said. “This is the same footprint as the original.”

Sweating construction workers continued to shape the interior and exterior structure which features a second-story storage area that includes refrigeration space. The former restaurant had storage in the basement.

Inside the nearly completed walls, workers labored Tuesday installing tiled floors inside the glass and stone front The structure is centered by an exposed, six-ton beam that fortifies the second-floor refrigeration units.

Rear side view of the McDonald's.

Rear side view of the McDonald’s.

Fraser traveled Tuesday from the family’s other Ephrata McDonald’s that opened last year in the Ephrata Marketplace, 866 E. Main St., which she calls McDonald’s East.

Prior to that, Fraser on Tuesday tended to the family’s other McDonald’s in Manheim.

The business is looking to hire between 40 and 50 employees who could work at both Ephrata locations.

“Our goal is to have everyone trained and ready to go so there is no gap in service,” Fraser said.

While most McDonald’s these days have a duel drive-thru, the lot space precluded having more than one drive-thru lane.

However, employees will work with hand-held devices to take orders from vehicles lined up around the building during lunch and dinner.

“We will have employees who will be outside taking orders on a tablet that links to the kitchen so it’s almost like having a tandem drive-thru because workers can get the order on the screen in the kitchen and service customers faster,” Fraser said.

Megan Pitz of Ephrata is excited to return to the McDonald’s where she started as general manager.

McDonald's

Franchise owner Kristen Fraser (left), and Megan Pitz, general manager, in front of McDonald’s at Cloister Shopping Center.

“This is my baby,” she said. “We’re looking forward to get into the new building and see our old customers from this end of town.”

The McDonald’s opening comes just as the company kicks off its all-day breakfast which experts predict will improve McDonald’s sales.

“It’s not that everyone wants breakfast but if two people are going out and one wants breakfast and one wants lunch, McDonald’s is now an option,” she said.

Fraser said McDonald’s has been able to “weather the storm” of increased food costs by keeping its prices down.

The opening also coincides with the breakout of new menu items when McDonald’s on Aug. 10 changes its crispy chicken to buttermilk chicken and the quarter-pounder meat changes to “a much juicier quality.”

“The new chicken and burgers are  amazing,” Fraser said. Look for improvements in our core products.”

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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