Cove McDonald’s undergoing renovations, removing playground, adding self-order kiosks
By BRITTANY FHOLER
When the newly renovated McDonald’s dining room opens back up to the public in Copperas Cove, it will be missing a dedicated PlayPlace with playground equipment for children.
There will still be things geared towards the youngest customers, in the form of games built into tables and mounted on the walls, said franchise owner Hampton Conlan.
He explained that moving forward, all McDonald’s restaurants would have PlayPlaces indoors. He said that when discussing whether to add one to the Copperas Cove location, it was determined that it would not be economically feasible because there was not enough participation from customers.
“I have a four-year-old myself, and you just don’t see the participation from the kids, like it used to be. They all want to be on an iPhone or an iPad,” Conlan said.
At other locations owned by Conlan where they’ve implemented the games, he’s seen the children play with the games more than the playground equipment, he added.
“I want more physical activity [for kids] but you know, it’s one of those things that only appeals to a certain group, and then when they hit a certain age, it’s like ‘We don’t want to play on that anymore, I’m too cool for that,’” Conlan said. “So we feel like the games and the table games will take place of the play land.”
The renovations, which began on April 22 and are expected to be completed by the first week of June, are part of bigger plan implemented by McDonald’s throughout the country, and in Texas specifically.
In August 2018, McDonald’s first announced in a press release that the company and its franchisees would be investing $448 million in Texas throughout 2018 and 2019 on the construction and modernization of 840 different McDonald’s restaurants.
“Every McDonald’s in the United States will be updated,” said Conlan. “The plan was by 2020 but now I think they’ve backed it up a little bit by 2022.”
Conlan referred to locations in Killeen, Lampasas and Gatesville as examples of how the upgrades will turn out.
“Basically, what it’s going to do is make it look like a brand-new store, without tearing it down and rebuilding it,” Conlan said.
Changes include a new drink station, the new games for kids, new décor and the addition of self-order kiosks, which really appeal to the younger generation, he said.
“A lot of people think that those take away from jobs, but actually, they create jobs and actually, what they do is we’re able to get the orders back to the kitchen faster, so you get service faster rather than waiting in line,” Conlan added.
While construction is going on, the lobby is closed but the drive-thru remains open, with the hours staying the same.