CHICAGO: McDonald's kicked off PR for its 50th anniversary on Monday by unveiling plans for a new flagship store in Chicago's River North entertainment district.
The new restaurant will replace what was known as The Rock 'N Roll McDonald's because of the collection of rock memorabilia on display there. The Rock 'N Roll McDonald's is a Chicago tourist destination and the third busiest McDonald's outlet in the US.
The company expects its new store on the same site to draw tourists with its futuristic design and tech gadgets, said Walt Riker, VP of corporate media relations.
McDonald's announced the new store at a press conference on the site, drawing local and national media coverage.
It provided TV outlets with a 3D animation of the new store, which will sport 50-foot-high golden arches.
It also used the press conference to preview a new product for the media, Chicken Selects, a white meat chicken offering aimed at adults, Riker said.
Long-time McDonald's agency Golin Harris helped put together the July 12 press event.
The new outlet, planned to be open by the company's 50th anniversary next April, "will be the flagship restaurant in the entire Chicago area," said Riker.
The new outlet is also a signal to Wall Street that McDonald's is moving ahead with plans to upgrade its system.
"A key component of our revitalization plan that was announced in 2003 was a real focus on brand relevance and upgrading and modernizing our brand," Riker said.
The press conference to announce the new outlet "really is an opening of our 50th anniversary celebration," he said.
The Rock 'N Roll McDonald's is owned by a group of franchisees that will also own the new outlet. McDonald's worked with the owners in creating the new design, Riker said.
The busiest McDonald's in the US is at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC; the second busiest is in Orlando.