McDonald’s projects generating area jobs

Restaurants being rebuilt, renovated for $16.6M this year.

Construction began last week of a new McDonald’s restaurant at 1517 N. Keowee St. in Dayton, bringing to 12 the number of McDonald’s restaurants across the Miami Valley scheduled for either a total rebuild or extensive renovations in 2012, according to Leslie Holbrook, spokeswoman for the fast-food chain’s Miami Valley locations.

One such “rebuild” in Troy is complete while a similar project in Kettering is a few days away from completion.

“We are increasing the capacity to serve more customers more often,” said Phil Saken, communications manager for the Ohio region of McDonald’s — and that often requires more employees. There are 86 McDonald’s restaurants in the greater Miami Valley, employing more than 6,000 people, Saken said.

McDonald’s and its franchise owners have been aggressively rebuilding or improving their Miami Valley locations for several years in projects that modernize the restaurants’ kitchens, service areas and dining rooms, and at most locations, create two drive-through lanes to accommodate more customers during peak times. The rebuilt restaurants usually require hiring additional crew members to accommodate the increased capacity.

John Morris, president of Springboro-based Ohio Valley Associated Builders & Contractors, said the construction projects are welcome news for some of his organization’s 300 members, who will likely pick up at least some subcontracting work from the building activity. National restaurant chains, however, tend to bring in their own general contractors that specialize in building each chain’s prototype stores, which somewhat dilutes the beneficial economic impact on the local economy since not all aspects of the projects are put out for open bids to local companies.

The Troy McDonald’s at 1560 W. Main St., which closed March 31, was razed and rebuilt, and is offering grand reopening specials this week after opening Sunday. A Kettering location at 2901 Wilmington Pike just north of East Dorothy Lane that also closed in late March is slated to reopen Friday, Holbrook said. Ken Roosa — operations director of The Scott Family McDonald’s, the Troy restaurant’s franchise owner — said the restaurant employed 80 to 85 people when it closed, but will reopen with about 95 employees.

And in Riverside, the city’s planning commission on Monday was expected to approve the creation of an outlot for a new McDonald’s, which will be built at 101 Woodman Drive, replacing the vintage-style McDonald’s located on the southwest corner of Airway Road and Woodman. Groundbreaking will take place early- to mid-fall, Saken said.

The Airway-Woodman restaurant will remain open while the new one is being constructed.

The Keowee Street project calls for construction of a new restaurant next door to an existing McDonald’s at 1501 N. Keowee St. that was built in 1969. The existing McDonald’s will continue to operate until the new restaurant is within a week or so of opening, which is projected to occur in early September, according to Al Herzog, the owner-operator who owns the Keowee Street franchise restaurant and three other McDonald’s restaurants in northern Montgomery County.

The McDonald’s locations that were built decades ago become inefficient in utilities, service and operations, Herzog said. “We want to make these stores modern and attractive for customers,” he said.

The new Keowee Street restaurant’s seating capacity will grow by only a handful to 65, in part because Herzog said about 75 percent of his stores’ sales are either drive-through or carry-out.

Employment at the Keowee location will grow slightly: “We’ve got about 60 to 65 employees now, and we’ll probably go to 70 to 80 when we move into the new site,” Herzog said.

Staff Writer Steven Matthews contributed to this report. Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2258 or mfisher@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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