McDonald's to expand its drive-thru

DOWNEY - It will soon be easier to order a Big Mac at the McDonald's on Lakewood Boulevard and Gallatin Road. The popular fast food restaurant, often criticized for a drive-thru that snarls traffic in the shopping strip, revealed plans this week to demolish the building and in its place build a new restaurant with an expanded drive-thru.

According to plans, which were approved by the Planning Commission on Wednesday, the drive-thru entrance will be relocated along Lakewood Boulevard and wrap around the building, where it will fork into two lanes with two menu boards.

The redesign allows the McDonald's restaurant to accommodate up to 11 cars in the drive-thru. The drive-thru's current design allows enough room for only four cars to queue before reaching the menu board, which causes traffic back-ups. City officials have also worried about possible safety hazards caused by blocked driveways and vehicles forced to position themselves against oncoming traffic.

Redesigning the restaurant means the shopping center - anchored by a 35,000 square foot Ralphs grocery store - will lose eight parking spaces but that's not expected to be a problem.

The structure itself will be designed after McDonald's new corporate standards, which include golden yellow outdoor canopies and roof caps with Aztec brick-colored stucco on the exterior. McDonald's will use an "earthly russet" color on the restaurant's base to match the shopping center.

While the restaurant will appear markedly different when complete, city officials sounded reassured with the design plans, writing in a report to planning commissioners that they are "content with the proposed architecture and (feel) that the design not only is compatible with the shopping center, but will provide an aesthetic improvement to the streetscape and the area as a whole." McDonald's didn't say when construction would begin.

********** Published: October 4, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 25

NewsEric Pierce