Uptown Minneapolis McDonald's reopens with automated kiosks, waiters in 'little aprons'

Kiosk ordering, table service, and more changes are underway at the Uptown Minneapolis McDonald's.

Kiosk ordering, table service, and more changes are underway at the Uptown Minneapolis McDonald's. Chicago Tribune

After roughly nine weeks of renovations, Uptown Minneapolis' McDonald's will sling Quarter Pounders again starting Wednesday.

"We’re reopening the dining room this afternoon, but it’s not done yet,” Mike Darula, who co-owns the franchise with his dad, tells City Pages. “All in all, I think it’s turning out really nice.”

The revamped Mickey D's will be a whole different burger joint than its predecessor—its lobby has been transformed into a dining room—but the biggest beefy change is in the service. Now, you can place your order for everything from Dollar Menu fries to McCafe coffee on automated kiosks. According to Darula, the plan is to roll them out in every U.S. location by the end of 2020.

“We added kiosks, but the kiosks are not replacing employees," Draula's quick to clarify. In fact, they're actually adding about three employees per shift, including a host or hostess who will greet people and guide them to the new ordering stations, if they want assistance. Clad in what Darula adorably calls "little aprons," they'll also bring out your burger and nuggets, and offer condiments. When you've downed your meal, they'll offer a mint, or a sticker for the kids.

“We’re really trying to give our employees reasons to interact with customers more," Darula explains. “A lot of these younger millennial kids are so used to texting … the engagement with the customer is tough.” Little things like this, he says, “help them come out of their shells.” 

He adds that the kiosks are a hit with parents, who feel less pressure to speed-order while wrangling distracted kids as a line forms behind them, and with elderly patrons, who can now enjoy a leisurely afternoon meal in a slightly more refined fast-food environment. 

The revamped McDonald's will still have a drive-thru and a front counter for folks who want to grab their coffee and hash browns quickly without using the kiosks or sitting down for table service.

Renovations aren't entirely done—they're still waiting on some doors, and additional changes to the exterior are underway—but Darula estimates that by about June 22, everything will be wrapped up like a cheeseburger in bright yellow paper.

2929 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis