Doing Décor Differently: McDonald’s France Debuts Circular Restaurant Design

France Circular furniture in restaurant

February 26, 2024

In the 80-plus years that McDonald’s has been in business, the way we serve our customers has continued to evolve — that evolution includes the way we build and furnish our spaces, too. And as we work to meet our 2050 net zero target, we’re exploring new, more-sustainable ways to design and create decor for our restaurant dining areas. That’s why we’re rolling out the red carpet for two new pilot restaurants focused on décor circularity in the cities of Carbonne and La Guerche de Bretagne, France.

Breaking Things Down

Collaborating closely with Belgian design agency WeWantMore, we challenged ourselves and our suppliers to think and act differently to develop a new design concept. Our ambition was to create a dining area experience that would exist not just as a one-off restaurant, but one that could be scaled to other McDonald’s around the world.

At the outset, to hold ourselves accountable, we created a measurement index together with the sustainability consultancy Anthesis, which tracks the circularity of our global restaurant décor.

The resulting design significantly improves how we score on the indicator — from 14 to 53 percent — and the key to the whole thing is simplicity and disassembly: The décor built for this restaurant model can easily be taken apart. Pieces are held together using mechanical fixings, instead of glue, so local teams can more effectively break restaurant features down by raw material type, with the goal of recycling or reusing. This process is more sustainable than the alternative because metals or woods treated with certain laminates or glues are not designed for re-use.

France circular furniture

A Bright Impact

Other important highlights of the new pilot restaurants include:

  • Over 80% of the wood used is PEFC certified, from the tree to the restaurant.
  • Laminates, which are notoriously challenging to recycle, have been removed from all furniture and décor elements (except for generic service elements such as trash bins and the Happy Meal Merchandiser for the time being).
  • Powder coating has also been removed from all furniture and décor elements to facilitate greater reuse of steel components in the future.
  • 100% of the plastic used in tabletops and low stools, and at least 80% of the plastic used in chairs, is recycled content.
  • All the energy-efficient lighting utilizes reusable fittings with replaceable LED chips.
  • The floor is 70% Cradle-to-Cradle certified and the ceiling 100% certified.

And we’re not stopping there. To continue to elevate our circularity in future spaces, we plan to introduce more sustainable foams and upholstery, starting with the next pilot in the spring of 2024, and we are working with suppliers on “take-back” programs.

“Our new McDonald’s restaurant design bridges creativity and sustainability through a focus on décor circularity, elevating the way design meets the needs of our customers and employees,” said Stephen Douglas, Vice President, Global Restaurant Design at McDonald’s. “Not only does the new décor have a bright, optimistic look, but the circularity principles provide a sunny outlook to the future of how we will be feeding and fostering community.”

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