MARK MORAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The recent remodeling at Wendy’s in Edwardsville included the addition of a freestyle soda dispenser that satisfies millennials’ cravings to personalize their options.
Steven Pierson, assistant manager at Wendy’s in Edwardsville, said since the restaurant was remodeled, it has been winning over an important demographic millennials. The remodeling included the addition a freestyle soda dispenser that satisfies millennials’ cravings to personalize their options.Mark Moran
Some restaurants have been revamping their look and trying to win over an important demographic: millennials.
Wendy’s fast-food chain has become famous among young adults for its snarky comments on Twitter and has been modernizing its restaurants.
Since Wendy’s in Edwardsville was remodeled last year, Assistant Manager Steven Pierson said, “I see a younger crowd coming in more and more. That’s what this remodel was designed for and it’s working because we’ve been busier.”
The redesign includes some attractive features for millennials, including Wi-Fi, places for them to charge their iPhones and iPads, a fireplace and a big-screen TV.
“They like this table with this TV a lot. It has USB here,” Pierson said. “Everything out here is brand new.”
The remodeling also included the addition of a freestyle soda dispenser that satisfies young people’s cravings to personalize their options.
A Coca-Cola Freestyle app that can be downloaded on smartphones gives them the freedom to create their own drink mixes. A location finder on the app also helps them find a machine.
“It picks your favorite drinks that you have programmed,” Pierson said. “You can scan it here and it will automatically pour it for you.”
Other Wendy’s restaurants in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Scranton and Dickson City also were redesigned and another location in Dallas will be remodeled next.
Wendy’s has been joining other restaurant chains trying to attract millennials, who are becoming the largest U.S. demographic, expected to surpass baby boomers in 2019.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, millennials are outspending their baby boomer counterparts at restaurants by 4 percent and are poised to become an even larger part of the food service economy.
This makes it vital for restaurants to compete for the younger generation’s attention.
As a result, McDonald’s also has been rolling out a new look and a new way to order by adding kiosks and table service.
A grand opening recently was held at a newly remodeled McDonald’s across from the Midway Shopping Center in Wyoming owned by Albert, Carol and Christina Mueller.
Renovations are continuing at another McDonald’s on Route 315 in Pittston Twp. owned by Pat Stella.
The drive-through was remodeled and digital menu boards are being installed.
The modernization also includes the addition of digital self-order kiosks that allow customers to browse the menu, find options and tailor meals the way they want.
Customers will find places to charge their iPhones and iPads and parking spots are being designated for curbside pick-up through mobile orders and paying.
In all, McDonald’s is investing about $266 million in Pennsylvania to modernize more than 360 restaurants this year and next year.
Nationwide, McDonald’s and franchisees are investing $6 billion to modernize most U.S. restaurants by 2020.
Other McDonald’s restaurants that have already been remodeled in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties include locations at 1950 Memorial Highway, Shavertown; Route 6, Clarks Summit; Brooklyn Street, Carbondale; Route 6, Eynon and Main Street, Old Forge.
In addition to the massive modernization project and technological investments, McDonald’s is phasing out plastic straws by 2020 and switching to more environmentally friendly paper straws.
Burger King also has ramped up its transformation efforts this year and many of its restaurants have been getting redesigned.
Some locally owned restaurants, such as Goldstein’s Deli in Kingston, have been remodeling as well and making additions that are attractive to young adults.
The deli, which has been in business for more than 60 years, was remodeled with a new dining room and a new tap system.
The deli now sells wine and has 12 different types of beer on tap, including craft and microbrew beer, and has an expanded menu, said manager Jeff Jost. The changes have helped to bring in more millennials, Jost said.
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