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McDonald’s to close in October for revamp

Rebuilding New London restaurant to make it larger

By Scott Bellile

For locals who eagerly await all-day breakfast coming to McDonald’s restaurants nationwide next month, Egg McMuffins for dinner may have to wait for New London residents.

The reason: A $1.6 million project starts this week to knock down the current McDonald’s on 1135 North Shawano St. and build a bigger one.

The restaurant will soon become drive-thru-only, and that will last through early October, when the restaurant will close altogether for eight weeks. Franchise owner Steve Kilian Jr. said the larger restaurant should be open for business by early December if work stays on schedule.

“We wish we could be closed for a shorter amount of time,” Kilian said, “but eight weeks is a short enough time that we feel confident that New London will support the restaurant when it reopens.”

The new establishment will have a two-lane drive-thru to speed up orders, and the interior will be modernized with digital menus, TVs and new decor. The basement will be removed and inventory will be moved up to the main level to boost worker efficiency.

The current building is situated on the south side of the property with ample parking on the north side. The new restaurant will be centered on the land.

“It’ll be very different than what’s currently there,” Kilian said.

With the additional drive-thru lane, Kilian said he hopes business will increase. If that happens, the staff size could grow from 50 employees to 60 or 70.

New London Building Inspector Paul Hanlon said the city’s planning commission did a site plan review last year in hopes the project would have started then. But drainage issues in the site plan meant McDonald’s had to reengineer the site.

The plan had called for two storm ponds on the restaurant’s property. Under the revised plan, storm water will be stored under the parking lot.

Hanlon said the new building will be 4,666 square feet, or 1.7 times larger than the current 2,714-square foot building. Hanlon didn’t know the current building’s seating capacity but said the new one will hold 90 customers.

“It’s going to be a good project. It’s a nice thing to have them doing,” Hanlon said.

The project comes as the global McDonald’s brand reports falling quarterly sales. This year the company hired a new CEO whose turnaround efforts include the upcoming all-day breakfast menu and raising the company’s employee base pay by $1.

The plan to overhaul New London’s establishment has been underway for a couple years, Kilian said, and now was the time to move forward.

“McDonald’s in New London has been there a long time, and it has great costumers and great employees that work there,” Kilian said. “But it’s time for something newer and modern and more efficient.”

Former owner and New London resident Tony Van Kampen, who sold McDonald’s in 2013 to Kilian and father Steve Kilian Sr., applauded their decision.

“We’re happy that they have chosen to rebuild this store,” Van Kampen said. “Unfortunately it was getting old and needing it. I’m glad that McDonald’s is going to be staying in New London and taking care of our past customers that we had. I wish them nothing but the best.”

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