Gary and Chrissy Hurst know the Farmington McDonald’s customers who frequent the Karsch Boulevard location are anxious for the new location to open.

And, they are just excited as well. The couple are hoping to open the new restaurant between Nov. 21 and Nov. 29.

The original McDonald’s – which was built in 1983 – was torn down in August to make room for the new restaurant.

They have a lot of activities and special events planned for the opening. Chrissy said the first 100 dine-in guests on opening day will receive a card for one free extra value meal a week for one year. While the exact date is not yet known, the couple say the store will open at 5 a.m.

On the second day of opening, every 20th car in the drive-thru receives a card for a free extra value meal every week for a year.

There will be prize giveaways, including a 55-inch television. Ronald McDonald will also be making an appearance.

“As soon as we know for sure when we can open, I’ll have a big count-down banner,” Chrissy said.

Preparing for the opening, crews were busy both inside and outside on Monday – with work going on in every area of the restaurant on the inside while stripes were being painted on the parking lot outside.

When it came to the interior design, Chrissy said she looked at the city’s motto for inspiration.

“We tried to do a little play on ‘Tradition and Progress’,” she said, noting she tries to tie in the area with each restaurant they own. The couple own the West Columbia location, as well as the restaurants in Arcadia Valley and Fredericktown. Other locations they own included Perryville and Chester, Illinois.

There are very unique woodgrain features mixed in with modern steel piping on the tables and benches – including a wooden shiplap wall which Chrissy admits is her favorite feature.

One dining area features a table with a quilt-top appearance.

“You have a diner feel with these modern pieces,” she said. “I tried to do a play on what I thought Farmington is.”

Chrissy said one of the features in the new, state-of-the-art restaurant will be the two, double-facing order kiosk – which, on Monday, were not yet in place.

Employees once stationed behind the front counters will now be out by the kiosk to help customers.

“They will be out here taking orders, helping you (place) orders, teaching you how, or doing it for you … whatever the case may be,” she said.

The kiosk screens are larger, giving what Chrissy said is a better look at the McDonald’s menu than the menu boards behind the cash registers.

She said the new ordering system is not going to take away employment – as has been mentioned by many since the arrival of the new ordering systems.

“We have to have one person at each station, plus someone to run the food, plus we’re now having a hospitality team,” she said. “We’re actually doubling the people we would normally have (in front).”

There were about 55 employees at the former location before closing and demolition in August. They already have 68 employees on board, with hopes to employ up to 75 around the holidays.

Another new feature is a separate “presentation” area where the food is delivered to the customer or, for those using the McDonald’s app, orders can be picked up for dining in. A separate parking area outside near the drive-thru is made available for to-go app purchases.

Also unique to the drive-thru is a pull-up window for “parked” orders, necessary when an item is not ready once the customer gets to the pick-up window.

The new kitchen area is twice as large as the former location, which Gary said made for tricky, sideways navigating when fully staffed.

“We have a whole area for prep people – we really do make our own salads, we really have fresh eggs,” she said.

The beverage area – including McCafe, soft drinks and shakes is now centrally located in one area of the kitchen.

Chrissy added there are a lot of upgrades that may not matter to the customer – but will allow the employees to put together orders in a more efficient manner.

There is also a “pass through” at the front of the building – which means customers looking for parking will no longer have to turn back out onto Karsch Boulevard.

She was also pleased to show the PlayPlace at the new area – something not found in every restaurant.

“You have to get special permission from McDonald’s to get a PlayPlace,” she said, adding the chain looks at how many kids per family households in the area, along with the number of Happy Meals sold.

The new area features a restroom within the area, along with both dining seating and bench seating for parents.

“I’m proud of it … I think people will love it,” she said, adding there is more seating available for families in the area.

The two said building a new restaurant altogether was a “no-brainer” for both the couple and the corporation.

“A lot of people are getting more excited,” she said. “I was in the drive-thru when we closed for that first two days. There was still a customer trying to come through.”

“I think everybody is excited, especially seeing it come together,” Gary said.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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