| Palm Beach Post
PALM BEACH GARDENS — COVID-conscious and color-coordinated, the McDonald’s restaurant on Alternate A1A in the Promenade Shopping Plaza welcomed back customers to its newly renovated dining room last month.
Owner Ricky Wade, who operates 30 McDonald’s restaurants in Palm Beach and Martin counties, including a second Palm Beach Gardens location at 3805 Northlake Blvd., transformed the eatery at 9880 Alternate A1A from a traditional look into a contemporary one.
The $450,000 renovation includes a modernized dining room with locally inspired decor, remodeled counters, digital menu boards, new furniture, privacy seating, curbside and in-store pickup through mobile order and pay, and remodeled bathrooms.
More: Miller’s Ale House to open next year at Alton Town Center in Gardens
More: Shake Shack opens at The Gardens Mall
“The new look is much more relevant to millennials and those ages 18-to-36,” said Wade, who has remodeled all but one of his McDonald’s restaurants. Work on the last location, at 181 N. U.S. 1 in Jupiter, is expected to begin later this month. “Our seniors also love it. It’s calmer.”
Construction began in June and was complete in late August, Wade said. The dining room, which was closed in mid-March amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, remained shuttered during construction. The drive-thru stayed open.
Wade is taking significant steps to keep customers and employees safe as the virus continues to circulate.
The restaurant is sanitized and disinfected every 30 minutes, Wade said. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the restaurant for customers’ convenience.
Partitions separate employees from customers and from each other. Tables that are available for use are staggered throughout the restaurant, and customers can place their orders through mobile pay.
The self-service beverage station has been removed for now, and masks are required in the restaurant unless when eating.
Employees are given temperature checks before their shifts, and are asked to stay home if exhibiting fever or headaches.
Wade said he plans to keep the restaurant operating at 30 percent capacity for now, but hopes to move to 50 percent capacity if there is a significant reduction in coronavirus cases.
“We have enabled the restaurant for safety,” Wade said. “This is top of mind to us.”
Wade also hopes to speed up customers’ experience at the drive-thru, and has been working with the city of Palm Beach Gardens on plans to expand it to two lanes.
Those plans would be part of a larger project to renovate the restaurant’s exterior and parking.
In the meantime, the restaurant has started stationing an employee outside the drive-thru to take orders with a handheld order-taker during high-volume hours.
“We wanted to expedite and speed up the drive-thru, because after COVID-19, the one thing we learned is that our consumers have gotten more convenience-driven,” Wade said. “Because of the atmosphere, if they can get a great experience at the drive-thru, they’re more thrilled.”