MONROE, CT — A multimillion dollar renovation of the McDonald’s on Monroe Turnpike features new double drive-thru lanes with digital menu boards and four kiosks allowing patrons more options while placing orders inside.
The modernized restaurant was closed for six weeks as construction crews gutted the building — right down to the studs. The extensive interior renovation includes updated bathrooms.
On Friday afternoon, the entrance was still coned off, but a white tractor trailer arrived with a delivery from Martin Brower, McDonald’s food vendor.
“We should be open for dinner this evening, by 5 p.m.,” said Maria Carlos, human resources and marketing manager for the franchisee of Trefz Corporation, which owns McDonald’s locations in Connecticut and New York.
“We’d like to thank all of our customers for their patience during this renovation,” she said, “and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
Carlos and Joe Lipson, director of technology and senior area supervisor for Trefz Corporation/McDonald’s, which is based in Bridgeport, gave The Sun a tour of the renovations Friday afternoon.
Paul D. Trefz, of Milford, owns the Monroe location at 390 Monroe Turnpike. It was built around 1994 and only had a minor renovation before the current project.
Lipson said the renovations were driven by the national headquarters in an effort to update McDonald’s restaurants across the country, making buildings more contemporary, while keeping up with digital advances and a fast growing drive-thru portion of the business.
Paul Lopezzo, president of Treco Construction, an affiliate of Trefz Corporation/McDonald’s, is the general contractor for the project. Lopezzo, who has been with the company for 45 years, grew up in Monroe.
Ordering meals inside
The Monroe McDonald’s has four new kiosks in the dining room, allowing customers to place orders and pay on their own. There are also two cash registers at the counter, where people can order in person or pickup a takeout order.
The front counter has plexiglass shielding, as a public health measure.
Lipson demonstrated how to place an order at the kiosks, scrolling through the digital screen to choose sandwiches, fries, salads, desserts and drinks. It allows customers to customize their order and to use their “My McDonald’s Rewards” app for discounts.
At the end of the order, which can be paid for via Apple Pay as well as cash and credit, customers type in their table number and sit down. An employee will bring them their order when it’s ready.
“Sometimes people who are with their family feel rushed to order,” Lipson said, explaining how the kiosks should result in shorter lines, allowing them to take their time.
The bathrooms are American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, meeting all of the current standards, according to Lipson.
A faster drive-thru
Outside, the drive-thru splits into two lanes with separate menu boards. After placing their orders, drivers will come to a merge lane.
Lipson said this will work the same way an intersection with stop signs does. Drivers will take turns moving into the merged lane, with the driver who arrived first going first.
Customers will pay at the “Pay Here” window and those who already paid using their phone app will be given their receipt and told to move along to the pickup window.
When there is a more complex order that takes longer to prepare, the driver will be asked to park in one of two reserved drive-thru spaces to wait for their food, without holding up the line.
“All of these improvements are going to improve the efficiency of our drive-thru and inside, with the kiosks, giving our customers faster and more accurate service,” Carlos said.
Lipson praised town officials for being easy to work with throughout the process, including the Building Department, Health Department, land use and the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“We deal with a lot of towns and cities,” Lipson said. “It’s difficult with COVID, but this town was great. We were pleasantly surprised.”