New McDonald's in the works for Lenoir

More seating, faster kitchen, second drive-through planned
Sep. 06, 2013 @ 08:11 AM

Wheels have begun turning to replace the McDonald’s restaurant in Lenoir with a larger building that has two drive-through lanes.

Construction may be as far away as early 2015, but when it's time, that McDonald's will have to close so it can be torn down and the new one can be built.

According to owner John Link, McDonald's purchased more property adjacent to the current site, allowing the new building to go up farther west, away from Morganton Boulevard, in order to accommodate more traffic.

The Lenoir City Council conditionally granted a flood plain development permit Tuesday night, but the building is still in the early planning stages, Link said. Once work begins, it will be fast-paced and nonstop.

“I’m excited,” Link said. “It’d be great if it could happen tomorrow.”

The McDonald’s in Lenoir currently employs approximately 90 people, Link said, but with the expansion he expects that to go as high as 120. During the rebuild, employees will be temporarily transferred to Hickory restaurants.

The new building's dining room will grow by 40 seats to 120, the kitchen will be larger and have updated equipment so employees can make more food faster, and the second drive-through lane will mean the restaurant can serve as many as 180 cars an hour, Link said.

The restaurant will feature a more contemporary, arcade-style design, Link said, with stone work on the exterior, and a redesigned interior featuring different seating zones, such as bars for individuals and family-style seating for groups.

Link is also planning to include a number of electrical outlets in the dining area -- the current dining area has only one -- so customers can plug in laptops and phone chargers.

Link also owns McDonald’s restaurants in Hickory and Conover, both of which he recently rebuilt. The Conover location, which was finished about three months ago, took 73 days to build, and the one in Hickory, which opened last year, took 74.

During the rebuild, Link said, the dining room will have to close, but he will try to keep the drive-through open for as long as possible, though eventually it also will have to close.

“It’s a good store, it does well,” Link said. “The people in Lenoir love us, and that’s why I’m getting ready to build them a new restaurant with more capacity.”