McDonald’s today unveiled the concept for the re-imaging of its flagship rock and roll location in Chicago.

The ‘50s-themed restaurant, located at 600 N. Clark St., will take on a more contemporary look as part of a re-imaging plan to commemorate the chain’s 50th anniversary in 2005.

“It’s a high visibility site right in the heart of everything that’s happening in Chicago, and we want it to make a grand statement about who we are,” Mike Roberts, president of McDonald’s USA said after the event.

Roberts said the revamped location will remain true to its ‘50s theme with features such as a two-story version of its signature arches but will also incorporate state of the art technology. The site will close its doors July19 at 5 p.m., but when it opens in April 2005, the restaurant will be equipped with wi-fi technology, a two-lane drive-thru, and various other innovations behind the counter. In addition, it will be doubled in size and have 300 seats—twice as many as the older model.

Despite the changes, Roberts stressed that the popular tourist location will stick to its rock and roll roots. “It will still be Rock and Roll McDonald’s,” he said. “The memorabilia we have there is important.”

Roberts said the Chicago location is just one example of McDonald’s “re-imaging plan to win” at work. So far, more than 1,100 McDonald’s locations nationwide have been updated since the campaign began over a year ago and 1,500 more are planned for this year.

Some of those locations will be equipped with wi-fi technology, and cashless payment options will be available in over 8,000 locations over the next 24 months, Roberts said. The chain also hopes to launch its new gift cards as part of the campaign.

Though the remodeling of the Chicago location will be the center of much of the celebration for McDonald’s golden anniversary, Roberts explained that there’s much more to the plan.

“The re-imaging plan to win is only one component,” he said. “This is about a resurgence of McDonald’s USA. It’s about better tasting Big Macs and a return to the original formula. It’s about new food news, 24-hour operations, and new happy meal choices—the whole experience. Re-imaging the Rock and Roll McDonald’s is just one part of the plan—there’s also great operations.”

Roberts said he hopes the re-imaging campaign will help McDonald’s stay in touch with its customers.

“We want the look and feel outside to convey that McDonald’s is a part of their lives and knows they need a break,” he said. “McDonald’s understands them.”

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