Poorly designed McDonald’s restaurants? That’s so 2009

Tokyo – As of late, McDonald’s has been shedding its interior skins of yore with increasing frequency. In revamping their global restaurants under big-name design leadership, the company seems to be transmitting a message: These are no longer spaces that you need to shamefully scarf down your McFlurry and fries in as fast as humanly possible. No longer will the floors appear perma-dirty and the restrooms be chronically out-of-order. If you give us a chance, maybe you’ll even enjoy spending time here.

And they might just be holding their promise: in Tokyo, the company commissioned NC Design & Architecture to take a restaurant ‘postmodern.’

Nelson Chow, founder of the Hong Kong-based design firm, is one of the four leading global interior designers for McDonald’s. For the redesign in the Japanese capital, Chow and his team created bright, minimalist interiors using finishes such as grey terrazzo, warm wood laminate panels and white grid tiles.

While imbuing much-needed sleekness and sophistication into the brand’s spatial reputation, NCDA didn’t strip the space entirely of McDonald’s playful brand personality. They aimed to bring a sense of warmth by playing with geometric visuals. Striped artwork and signage in the company’s classic mustard yellow and ketchup-red colour scheme balance out monochrome furniture and surfaces. Without those elements, you might not even know you were in a McDonald’s at all.

McDonald’s has survived over 60 years of media turbulence; it will not let its downfall be at the hands of bad design

In catering to millennials and Gen-Z-ers whose appetites seem only to be whet by grass-fed beef and Insta-friendly spaces, it no longer makes financial sense for hospitality leaders – even fast-food leaders – to have poorly designed restaurants. McDonald’s has survived over 60 years of media turbulence. It’s clear that the American company will not let its downfall be at the hands of bad design.

So, good news: if you’re in Tokyo (or in Paris, perhaps) you can now feel comfortable taking a little time eating that illicit bi-monthly Big Mac you allow yourself.

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