Zut Alors! McDonald's Unveils High-Design Concept Store In France

Designed by Patrick Norguet, the concept aims to reestablish the fast-food giant as a family restaurant.

In the battle between José Bové, the French antiglobalism activist, and his bête noire, McDonald’s, there’s no question that the fast-food giant emerged victorious. Today, France has effectively declared its love for Le Big Mac, becoming the No. 2 McDonald’s consumer in the world. To be fair, McDo—as the French call it—has changed things up to woo discerning customers: It sources most of its ingredients from French farmers and recently introduced 130 McCafés featuring espresso and pastries (we’re talking macarons here, not deep-fried apple pies). And now, it’s even classing up its interiors, with the help of Paris-based designer Patrick Norguet.

The new identity is an attempt to recast McDo as a family restaurant, rather than a teenage hangout—which Norguet describes as a literal and metaphorical return to the chain’s roots. Pieces of birch plywood branch out to create shelving and distinct areas for different social functions and moods. A lone teen can eat standing up, while a family may grab a more private alcove equipped with a digital ordering terminal. "Henceforth," the press release reads, "a mother can settle with her offspring at a table, order from a nearby terminal and wait for the meals to be brought to the table."

Norguet chose a palette of white with bold accent colors, including the McDonald’s signature red and yellow, and used some of his earlier designs, including his Still metal chair for Lapalma and a gray ceramic floor for Lea Ceramica.

The design was given a trial run at an outpost in Villefranche-de-Lauragais, and six other locations are currently in the works. The new look might even give a McDonald’s-rampaging Bové reason to pause. But probably not for long; despite its contemporary sheen, it’s still a fast-food joint, after all.

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  • No

    You can literally look right past the nice design and see the hell hole of a kitchen your food is being prepared in. Redesign the food preparation areas if you don't want to by lying directly to your customer's faces.

  • ramubay

    One new concept they built in San Diego (Clairemont Mesa Blvd between Ruffin & 163) looks intentionally like a college Starbucks complete with those large study-hall style tables, individual tables are tall stools/tables found in bars, some two-seaters, maybe 2 or 3 booths for families, a few over-stuffed brown leather chairs in front of never-used books on floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (people use the chairs all day for laptops).  This is in a business/industrial area but also close to homes, no colleges.  The revamped drive-thru keeps the traffic moving which is good news because fewer people actually go into the store now & those that do don't stay except to use the Wifi.

  • Acepacific

    Correction: The French refer to it as "MACDO" (pronounced mack-dough)   not   McDO...

  • Geraldine Looker

    Wow, what a transformation. McD becoming contemorary chique! + the food adopting organic produce. Hope the US takes the bait!

  • Mark MacKay

    I'm more Bové than McDonalds - I even ate some of the cheese he brought to Seattle during the World Trade riots. So I was surprised when I ate breakfast at a McDonalds in Paris and the food tasted like food. It was good. But it's still a device to co-opt opposition. Window dressing. Why would an innovative designer work for a corporation like McDonalds? Is he doing good or doing bad?

  • Mallory Slattery

    I really like the design.  There is a McDonald's  somewhat similar on  46th st. and 6th in NYC.  I think people will hang out a little longer and perhaps purchase
    more. Maybe they should add croissants to the menu. I'm not sure if WiFi is
    available but it should be.

  • Rebhelm

    We have a McDonalds nearby Rome that is quite similar to this one you show here. It is a more pleasing ambience than the traditional ones.

  • Jcookson

    great look and continued innovation from a company that does what it does well.  

  • Stef Marcinkowski

    "Upscaling the brand" is a classic marketing trick. When it comes to coffee, Starbucks wrote the book on selling the premium brand experience. Here in Canada, McDonalds has aggressively gone after that market with its introduction of specialty coffee products. And not to be left out in the cold, Tim Hortons has recently announced its own plans to go upscale.

  • Marissa Zane

    I agree with François. As an architecture student studying in Paris for the semester, the popularity and "high design" of McDonalds was really shocking. I went to a McDonalds the other day that was as similarly "well designed" as this one and it was filled with fashionable teens. It makes sense, though, that the more choosy French need more sophisticated food and spaces to make the idea of McDonalds at all appealing. The food is also higher quality.

  • Claudia Miranda

    This is such a unique method of bringing in more customers through style innovation. This look should come to the US.