Like millions of other families, we are making our final summer pilgrimage this Labor Day weekend. On the way to our destination, we make a pit stop at our regular kid friendly location (McDonalds) where we get a quick bite and use the washrooms before hitting the road again.
But this time, it's like walking into some kind of cafe. I'm greeted by the sound of smooth Jazz being funneled through high fidelity speakers. The restaurant is exceptionally clean and well lit. Instead of plastic and Formica--I notice brushed aluminum, designer lamps, a stone finished fireplace and multiple flat screen televisions playing an assortment of news and sports.
Where the hell am I? I feel like it's like a scene out of the twilight zone. Then it hits me. This is one of those McDonalds concept restaurants that have been re-designed. I read about these a while back. But this is the first time I've been in one. So McDonald's takes a page out of the Starbucks play book by elevating the McDonalds experience to the next level.
Now, I can get all philosophical about whether this is true to their brand or not. But instead, I'll provide a less glamorous, more true to life perspective. Families like mine stop at places like Mcdonalds when we are on the road because it's convenient,fast and we know our kids will eat (which is important, because happy little tummies make for happy road trips). So expectations aren't really that high in the first place. Most of the time, we are just happy if the rest rooms are clean and the fries are hot.
Those are usually the only things I notice about a McDonalds. And when they don't deliver in these areas, I'm pretty dissapointed and wishing there was a better alternative.
But today's experience was so positive, that it actually made me notice McDonalds for the first time in a long time. I saw the brand in a different way. It's as if McDonalds was telling me "look, we know you've been on the road for a couple of hours and you are ready to toss one of your kids out the window right about now. Think of us as a little oasis of sanity before you have to go back to listening to Sponge Bob's Top10 underwater classics".
Thank You McDonalds. I'm glad somebody understands.