New McDonald's welcomes back old customers in Scarborough
SCARBOROUGH — Ribbon cutting proved sweaty outdoor work for McDonald's franchisee Bob Hogan last week.
But welcoming customers and public officials inside the rebuilt restaurant at 221 U.S. Route 1 in Oak Hill was a cooler task that delighted him.
"I love it," Hogan said, dabbing his face with a handkerchief after escaping the 90-degree outside heat. "It's been great, one of the fastest they have built for me."
The grand reopening of the 4,200-square-foot restaurant drew state Reps. Amy Volk and Heather Sirocki; Town Manager Tom Hall; Town Councilor Vice Chairwoman Judy Roy; Councilors Ed Blaise and Kate St. Clair, and Planning Board Chairman Allen Paul and board members Jeff Thomas and Ron Mazer.
Eager to meet and greet everyone, Hogan said what really counted is the renewed customer support.
"I'm happy people are responding the way they are, to have everyone coming out," he said as the lunch rush began.
Built on the site of the old restaurant, the new McDonald's opened about 90 days after its 34-year-old predecessor was razed. Inside, customers can find seating areas designed to accommodate diners who want to eat quickly, or those who want to linger and chat, a variety of games at two video stations, and Wi-Fi access.
Hogan said changes are abundant in the menu too, with choices including smoothies and wraps offered next to the traditional Big Mac and fries.
The changes required a kitchen redesign, too.
"Everything evolves," Hogan said. "With more products, we needed more space and ways to keep products fresh."
Hogan has owned and operated 17 McDonald's franchises over the last 28 years, including restaurants in Wells, Kennebunk, Biddeford and Saco. He bought the Scarborough restaurant almost two years ago.
The plan to replace the restaurant predated his ownership, but were put on hold until he took over. Then came a Planning Board review process requiring design changes to conform to town, and more specifically, Oak Hill, standards.
Hall joked that the reopening was "the hottest topic in town," before thanking Hogan for his willingness to amend design plans.
"I'm glad you made us do the design changes," Hogan replied.
Roy noted the new restaurant replaced the first franchise restaurant built in town.
"It was a modern building built here 34 years ago and a modern building built here today," she said.
The restaurant is about the same size as the one it replaced, but offers easier vehicle access and a change in traffic flow that should alleviate congestion on U.S. Route 1. There are two drive-through lanes, and access to Plaza Drive was expanded.
In honor of the grand reopening, Hogan contributed $1,500 to the Scarborough Education Foundation.
He said the rebuilding was one of the fastest ever completed at his restaurants, although closing for 90 days is never easy.
"It was nerve wracking," he said. "I'm just happy to see everyone coming back out."