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April 6, 2018

Customers flock to new McDonald’s in Warrenton

It makes the town look good, brightens things up on Broadview.
— William Aronhalt, Warrenton resident
Warrenton McDonald’s
• Where: 351 Broadview Ave.

• Opening day: Wednesday, April, 4.

• Closed for reconstruction: 97 days.

• Size: 4,796 square feet.

• Parking spaces: 52 versus 70 previously.

• Seats: 94

• Hours: 6 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

• Franchisee: Welburn Management of Woodbridge.

• History: Opened January 30, 1971.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The familiar aromas of burgers and fries wafted through the new McDonald’s along Broadview Avenue on Wednesday.

Much to patrons’ delight, the town’s oldest and one of its busiest fast-food restaurants reopened after 97 days of complete reconstruction. It started with demolition of the building that had stood for 46 years.

“We’ve been waiting to have our regular old Big Mac,” aid Laurie Belew, a customer from Amissville.

The restaurant grossed $2.6 million two years ago, the latest figures available.

The popular eatery closed right after Christmas. Slightly smaller than the original, the 4,796-square-foot building cost more than $1 million.

Eager customers lined up at lunchtime Wednesday to order Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Chicken McNuggets and those famous fries.

“We’ve been really excited to come out here,” said Ivan Herrera, who came opening day for lunch with three of his coworkers. “We’ve been anticipating this.”

A technician at Sheehy Ford in Warrenton, Mr. Herrara said he grew up going to the Warrenton McDonald’s after sports practices and church.

“I am very amazed, shocked by how fancy it looks,” he said.

The new building features modern décor, digital menu boards, four large touch-screen ordering “kiosks,” a “Play Place” and seating for 94 customers — about 30 fewer than before.

Mr. Herrera likes the self-service ordering kiosks and thinks they will help customers order more quickly.

“It’s not replacing any employees,” Warrenton franchise owner Ashley Welburn said.

Customers who prefer to order from an employee can still go to two cash register stations.

Welburn Management of Woodbridge, which owns the franchise, plans to double the number of employees working at the restaurant to 80.

Beverly Exline from Rappahannock County likes the higher ceilings and more natural lighting.

“It makes you feel not closed in as much,” compared to the old restaurant, Ms. Exline said.

The new restaurant also features two entrances/exits on Broadview Avenue and one on Roebling Street. It has two drive-thru lanes and 52 parking spaces — 18 fewer than the old building.

With a larger kitchen, new technology and equipment, the staff hopes to serve customers faster and to provide better service.

Another new feature: “Employees will bring the food to you,” when ordering in, said Ms. Welburn.

Eventually the owners hope to operate 24/7.

A steady stream of patrons flowed through the restaurant, which opened at 6 a.m. Wednesday. By 1 p.m. the restaurant had 403 transactions.

Raine Goodwin brought her two daughters and niece for lunch after orthodontist appointments.

“I’ve been eating at Wendy’s for the last four moths,” Ms. Goodwin said. “I was excited,” about the new. McDonald’s reopening.

Her daughter Mahala liked the updated pop music playing in the background.

“They brought us our food, and that was new and nice,” Ms. Goodwin said. “But, it seems smaller. There are only two stalls in the bathroom.”

As part of McDonald’s Corp. efforts to upgrade restaurants across the country, Warrenton ranks among the first franchises to have a “kitchen of the future,” equipped with a conveyor belt under the prep counter. It moves food more quickly to the front of the kitchen where employees can grab and bag items.

“Their food should be coming out much faster, with no excuse for it being cold,” Manager Marie Kenney said.

“It’s clean, nice, and up-to-date,” Warrenton resident William Aronhalt said. “I’m glad we have a new McDonald’s. It makes the town look good, brightens things up on Broadview.

“Hopefully they can keep up with the strong motivation, customer service,” Mr. Aronhalt said.

The popular fast-food eatery opened in Warrenton on Jan. 30, 1971. 

Welburn Management purchased the Warrenton franchise in June 2016. The company owns about 30 others in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. 

The store will host an official grand opening celebration, possibly in May.

“We tried to give the community the best facility we possibly could, and we hope they enjoy it,” franchise owner Craig Welburn said. “It’s for them.”
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Vickie · April 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm
New doesn't fix inefficiency. Slower, smaller, lack of parking, not increased. What were the owners thinking? In these times of instant gratification, how can you have slow drive through? How can you cut parking, or amenities? Oh, well it's a new inefficient building. Too bad, so sad. Looks like lack of salt is a new issue. You at least had salt before.
jimnecci · April 10, 2018 at 4:56 pm
Well today I tried it. Not faster, they have to bring you salt if you want it. Seem a lot slower and smaller. The lack of parking was also obvious. I prefer the one at Bealeton. At least they have salt and pepper on the tables.
martinkus · April 10, 2018 at 2:34 pm
Welcome back, Micky-Ds!
BJ · April 7, 2018 at 6:09 pm
Ever wonder why new businesses don't want to come to Warrenton? Just read all the negative Facebook comments and you can see why. We don't eat a McDonald's except for an ice cream cone and hot fries to dip into it, maybe once a year.
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