Smart Restaurant Design Stories

We are trying, testing and scaling what works across our global markets. Below are just some of the stories that show how we’re continually improving our approach as part of our Scale for Good journey.

Seeing the light in North Carolina


In 2009, our Franchisee Ric Richards opened his first LEED® Gold restaurant in Cary, North Carolina. The restaurant featured an array of energy-efficient measures, including a hydronic boiler system, tubular skylights and a 100% LED lighting system. The use of LED lighting in particular has produced much lower energy use than conventional systems, saving as much as 253,063 kWh per year – that’s the equivalent of 25 average households!

In 2013, Ric opened a second restaurant in Cary, again achieving LEED® Gold certification. With this restaurant, Ric went even further, installing a solar array to generate electricity, an electric car charging station, 100% recycled brick and energy-efficient hand dryers. Ric estimates the solar array generates around 50,000 kWh per year, feeding directly into the restaurant.


Setting standards for building efficiency


McDonald’s Netherlands saw an opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of its restaurants by increasing the efficiency of the buildings. In 2011, a new restaurant opened in Amsterdam equipped with an array of energy-efficient technology, including photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, solar-powered collectors for heating water, a wind turbine, a charging station for electric cars, LED lighting, heat pumps for heating and cooling the kitchen, a heat recovery system, waterless urinals and infrared faucet sensors.

The restaurant became the first in the Netherlands to meet the Platinum standard of McDonald’s Green Building Guidelines, and also received GreenBuilding Partner status and the Green Building Award from the European Commission. It was the first non-residential building in the Netherlands, and McDonald’s first European restaurant, to receive these accolades.


Championing the planet


McDonald’s UK has found a unique way to leverage the environmental enthusiasm of its staff members – by creating Planet Champions. Through the voluntary program, staff members can become the environmental voice of their restaurant, support business managers with existing environmental initiatives, encourage and inspire colleagues, and generate new ideas to promote sustainability.

Volunteers receive training on environmental issues, what the Company is doing to address them and how the volunteers can contribute. They get involved in – and help organize – a year-round calendar of events and activities around litter, recycling and energy, and a regular newsletter keeps them up to date and enables them to share ideas.

In 2016 over 2,800 of McDonald’s employees completed the sustainability training to become or support Planet Champions. The program has helped achieve energy savings and an increase in recycling. It’s also brought external recognition, winning the Green Apple award for employee engagement and being shortlisted for the PEER awards celebrating inspirational business initiatives.

As a result of this success, the Planet Champions program has been extended to Ireland, Norway and Sweden.