Thursday, July 26, 2012

3 Small Tenths for Man, One Giant Leap for McDonald's

Oakbrook, Illinois-based McDonald's is looking to relocate its restaurant at 3295 Buford Highway adjacent to a Shell gas station, to a more prominent location between the Kroger at Skye Hill and existing KFC.  The move represents a distance of less than 3 tenths of a mile, but offers a superior location with potential for access from up to three streets: Buford Highway, Clairmont Road and Clairmont Terrace.

Book Nook, a popular new and used book, CD and other media shop, was located in the shopping center for many years, but moved to North Druid Hills and Clairmont Road a few years ago.  Book Nook was replaced by a mattress store which in turn, closed.  Oasis International Restaurant looks to be closed as well: although its number is still in service, no one answered.  A once popular laundromat has also closed, as did The Paper Chase, a local retailer specializing in film collectibles.  The center's current lone tenant is a strange thrift store that occupies the space of a former package store. 

Back in the days of Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald's the mega chain that it is today, things were a little less scientific.  I've heard that Kroc would fly in the company plane over neighborhoods and when he saw a church steeple, he'd tell his people to build a restaurant nearby, as he believed that where there were churches, there were good american families and that was who he wanted as customers. 

McDonald's decision to move on Buford Highway is surely the result of traffic pattern analysis and changes in demographics and other things. Their current location is fairly hidden and a couple of years ago, Burger King opened a far more prominent and more updated location at the Crossroads Village shopping center.

Not to say the area is all good: the KFC was at one point rebranded as a KFC / Pizza Hut dual branded unit, but has returned to selling KFC exclusively. Also, Checkers closed their location at the intersection, and El Pollo Loco, exited the market entirely, closing the Buford Highway location, one that had been the top producing in the state.

McDonald's has applied to DeKalb county to rezone the approximately 1.28 acre parcel  from NS (Neighborhood Services) to C-1 (Local Commercial). Interestingly, as you can see from the photo, the sign actually misspells McDonald's as McDonal's.  The Board of Commissoners held their monthly meeting July 24th and defferred  the restaurant's requests to both rezone and have a drive-thru  until their next meeting, August 28th. 

If the rezoning application is approved, it's likely the new restaurant won't be open until late this year or early next year. It's entirely likely that the new restaurant, like new and recently remodeled locations, will not have a Playplace per se, as it seems McDonald's is no longer emphasizing that.

I recall an existing McDonald's on Cheshire Bridge Road being shuttered in favor of another location not far away, but at a more prominent intersection, Lindbergh Drive and Cheshire Bridge Road. The former McDonald's now operates as "ROXX".  Another similar move took place when McDonald's vacated their restaurant on North Decatur Road adjacent to then A&P ( now Publix ) and relocated up the road to what is now a Chevron / McDonald's combo store.  Though I don't remember it myself, the current McDonald's at Executive Park on North Druid Hills was a third relocation after first being at Toco Hills and later on Briarcliff in what later became Miami Subs and is now Tin Roof Cantina.  A reader also informed me that similar relocations have taken place in Snellville, a while back and Buford just a few months ago.

What do you think of all these changes and relocations?  Any ideas for what should open in the soon-to-be vacant McDonald's or already vacant Checkers or El Pollo Loco?  Do you prefer McDonalds or Burger King? 
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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Anonymous said...

That doesn't make much sense. There is a McDonalds on a Clairmont 1/2 mile down the street in front of Sam's Club. Very strange move.

Atlantan99 said...


Perhaps I should have included this in the post itself...

You are right that the two locations are close but they serve entirely different markets. The McDonald's you speak of is located just off 85 and is frequented by patrons coming off the highway. The location is quite small and has not received a renovation.

The proposed new location is merely a relocation of a similarly close (existing) location on Buford Highway. Truth be told the distance between the proposed new location and the existing one near Sam's Club is over one mile.

I think (if approved)the new location will do very well.

Thanks for the comment and for reading the blog.

Skreet said...

This area is such a depressing part of Dekalb county that a McDonalds might make it better.

SB said...

This is really ironic because I rented a truck at Budget right across from this site. On the way there to return the truck, I drove by the McDonalds on Buford and thought to myself how random it was hidden there and I never had any idea it was there. This post makes me realize I am not crazy and also that I am not the only dork who cares about this stuff.

Tom said...

You're forgetting the most prominent tenant that used to be in that shopping center, the Windfaire head shop.

adelaide shopping centre said...

I am agree with Tom.I think its a nice and informative post.Please keep continue

Anonymous said...

Windfaire was the landmark Atlanta Smokeshop, the one which made possible the continued sale of smoking accessories by challenging the archaic lawmakers and politicians and legitimizing paraphernalia. Head shop products exist today in the USA because of Windfaire's efforts.

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