Smaller McDonald’s planned

By , on April 8, 2015

ER McDs fencedThe owners of the burned-out McDonald’s at the Cloister Shopping Center say a reconfigured fast-food operation could be open within three months.

Local residents and Cloister Shopping Center business tenants were excited to learn that demolition of the current eyesore could begin within two weeks.

“That’s good news,” said Brian Miller after exiting the Subway in the center Tuesday. “The boarded up McDonald’s is a mess. Can’t wait for it to reopen.”

Co-owner William Brown told Ephrata Borough Council Monday that demolition of the old building could begin within days after the plan gets final approval.

That approval could come at the April 13 council meeting.

The new restaurant could take 70 to 80 days to complete, which could restore burger production by mid July, Brown said.

“We look forward to it reopening,” said Melissa Palermo-Spero, who moved her business, The Fun-est Toy Store Ever!, from downtown Ephrata to the 2,000-square-foot space at the center in January.

“No doubt the new McDonald’s will drive traffic into the shopping center,” she said.

Details unveiled at Monday night’s Ephrata Borough Council work session ended months of speculation about the delayed reconstruction.

A fire on June 2 rendered the McDonald’s at Cloister a total loss.

Brown and his representatives explained to council that while the new restaurant will occupy the same footprint, a number of design changes will vastly improve service speed, especially in the drive thru.

The limited flexibility of the location left Brown to explore ways to address drive-thru bottlenecks even before the fire, he said.

Plans to intentionally reduce business at that location by as much as 20 percent include a smaller dining area of eighty seats, maintaining a single drive -thru window, and the Ephrata Township McDonald’s location recently opened by the Brown’s will draw away some customers.

Plans call for moving the kitchen in the new restaurant next to the drive through should also reduce wait time.

“The new restaurant will be on grade,” Brown said. “By bringing it down to level, bringing the kitchen next to the drive through will help turn cars faster and in a time similar to Ephrata Township which on average is 17 seconds faster.”

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

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