McDonald's Investing Tens of Millions Into Indiana Stores

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The owner of multiple McDonald's locations in Michiana says major modernization investments by the parent corporation and individual franchisees will create jobs throughout the state. Mishawaka-based Greater Indiana Operators Co-op President David Sparks says, of the more than 350 McDonald's locations in Indiana, over 270 will receive work that includes interior and exterior makeovers, additional digital menu technology and self-ordering kiosks, curbside pickup for mobile orders and table service inside the stores. In all, McDonald’s is investing $168 million in Indiana, and $6 billion nationwide.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Sparks says the changes are designed to meet customer demands. "Some of the first things that customers say is 'well, you're going to replace people' (with technology like digital kiosks)," Sparks said, "and that is so far from the truth. We have to actually add people on to help with all of this. You know, with the kiosks, I still have to have people to take orders. I have to have people that are going to run out the orders for table service. I've got mobile order and pay, so I'm still bringing out the orders to the customers, so it's going to increase the number of employees that we need at every restaurant."

Additionally, Sparks says it will create construction jobs during the next two years the work will continue. As consumers continues to migrate away from cash and more toward digital and on-demand conveniences in other areas, Sparks says McDonald's locations will be better positioned to serve. The parent company has partnered with ride-share provider Uber through its Uber Eats program to offer "McDelivery" service of the fast food from thousands of restaurants throughout the country.

Sparks is coming up on his 50th anniversary of being involved with the company. Over the time he has gone from working at a store in college to a jobs at the corporate office to being an owner operator of several Indiana locations. "A lot of times, McDonald's gets looked at as a large corporation," he said, "but over 80 percent of the restaurants in the state of Indiana are owned by individual franchisees like myself. You know, we live here, we work here, our kids go to school here. We're part of the communities that we live in and I think that's just huge for the operators and the communities that we're a part of."

The modernization efforts are slated to run throughout 2018 and 2019.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Mishawaka-based Greater Indiana Operators Co-op President David Sparks says the changes are designed to meet customer demands.
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