Fast Food Interior Design Through the Years: McDonald’s

by Andrea Reynolds

Fast food restaurants have been with us since 1919, when A&W opened its doors here in the US for the first time. Since then, these easy and somewhat sinful quick stops have grown to become a 570 billion dollar industry. But in order to remain such a staple of our lives, they’ve had to maintain great interior designs to please the changing needs and demands of their evolving customers.

Join us as we take a look at the design changes of one of our favorite drive-thrus: McDonald’s.

McDonald's before:


We can all remember the days of spinning on those uncomfortable anchored metal chairs while enjoying our food under the harsh rectangular florescent lighting. Some locations also displayed large swatches of red and yellow elements to add to the branding of the decor, while large replicas of Ronald McDonald and his friends greeted you at various areas throughout the restaurant.  In all honesty though, who doesn't have a fond memory of eating happy meals in those character shaped chairs? 

McDonald's today:

McDs_1Photo courtesy: McDonald'sMcDs_2Photo courtesy: McDonald's

In an attempt to bring new life to a classic chain, McDonald’s is moving from cafeteria-style dining to a variety of more modern and unique design options. Catering to both their loyal fan base of both adults and children, the new elements offer bold colors, diverse tables, and chairs as well as bold and comfortable lighting. Each franchise owner selects one of the available design options they believe best meets the needs of their area and customer base.

More recently the brand launch a variety of new technology based experience to help elevate the customer's dining experience including ordering kiosks, mobile payments, McDelivery via Uber Eats, and all new designs (I hear they are even adding a Spicy McChicken to the menu). 

While the new McDonald’s designs are certainly more pleasing to the eye, they're not just for show. By breathing a new life and aesthetic into the old standby chain, this new restaurant design focus is expected to drive a 6-7% increase in overall sales.

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