By Sue Suchyta for The News-Herald |
Digital self-ordering kiosks, table-side food delivery service and enhanced conveniences greeted customers as the Wyandotte McDonald’s celebrated its reopening Thursday, becoming the third Michigan McDonald’s to offer a taste of the future.
The restaurant, 3421 Biddle, joins two other modern McDonald’s at 14860 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, and 435 S. Broadway, Lake Orion.
Owner Gary Granader was excited to share the remodeled golden arches with customers.
“It’s improvements for our customers, an investment in our community and it’s really a better McDonald’s,” he said. “We’re putting technology and the digital age in McDonald’s with the kiosks, mobile order and pay, and table service. It’s really a new day at McDonald’s.”
Granader said the drive-thru will eventually get digital order boards in addition to the current mobile order and pay application.
“You can actually order your food on your phone, pay for it on your phone and then you can show up at any McDonald’s in the area, and once you get into what they call the geofence, it will show up on the screen in that particular restaurant, and before you get there, you can choose whether you want to come in and get it, come through our drive-thru or you can park at a curb in one of our parking spaces and we will bring it out to you.”
A geofence is a virtual geographical boundary that uses global positioning system or radio frequency identification technology with software to trigger a response – like placing a predetermined order – when a mobile device, such as a smart phone, crosses into its area.
Granader hopes the remodeling will draw more customers into the restaurant.
“I think the improvements and total remodeling of our inside to a very modern-looking restaurant to make customers very comfortable being with us will grow our dining room business,” he said. “It’s inviting people to our home and have them enjoy everything inside.”
He said McDonald’s wants to be available to customers in any circumstances.
“We’d be happy to have them inside our restaurant,” he said. “We are providing much more convenience and customizing, especially at the kiosk. It really gives them as many options as possible. We are maximizing all options for our customers.”
Crew member Jenny Rowland said many of their customers are regulars and she likes getting out into the dining room and talking to them.
She said people have been very comfortable with the touchscreen ordering kiosks, which easily let a person go back and make changes or corrections to an order.
“Now we are more catered to our customers,” she said. “It is all about our customers. We’ve always tried to make it about our customers, but I think now it definitely shows it, so it’s a lot better.”
Granader said he wants to give customers convenience and choice in the ordering process whether they eat in or take out.
Manager-in-training Kevin Hamilton said ordering food through the kiosk is fast and personalized.
“You can get everything right yourself,” he said. “And you can pick to eat in or to go.”
He said people are surprised at how vast the menu is, and they are seeing things on the kiosk menu that they never noticed before.
“You get to explore and look at new options and get a level of customization that you might not get at the register because you didn’t know to ask for it,” Hamilton said.
Granader said they have increased their espresso options, adding a hot or iced caramel macchiato, a rich, dark-roast espresso served with whole or nonfat milk, sweet caramel syrup and topped with buttery caramel drizzle.
“We are going to continue to support our espresso-based coffee,” Granader said. “Just last year, all the restaurants in the region bought new espresso machines. The beans are ground for each drink.”
He said McDonald’s owes its popularity in part to its drive-thru convenience, which blends well with the new conveniences it has added.
“Customers want to get their food; they want to get it fresh; they want to get it the way they want to get it; and that is what we are providing at McDonald’s, whether you are walking in or driving in,” Granader said.
Granader, who has seven McDonald’s restaurants Downriver, is a second-generation owner, following in his father’s footsteps. His other locations are in Allen Park, Flat Rock, Southgate, Trenton and Woodhaven.
He said he’s pursued other careers, but never felt about them the way he does about his restaurants and the communities they are in.
“I care about my employees and they, in turn, take care of my customers,” he said. “Our customers take care of us by giving us their businesses. It is our pleasure to invest back in our communities.”
This story originally appeared here on the News Herald.