Following more than four months of construction and permit acquisition, a McDonald’s franchise opened last Monday in the Tunnel at AU.
The restaurant occupies the former site of Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria, who had lost their lease in 1999 and vacated the space after an out-of-court settlement with AU at the end of spring semester 2000. Armand’s had been in that location since the Tunnel was opened in 1987.
The new franchise, which can seat about 46, has a ten-year contract for the site with an option to renew, according to Hillary Dallas, director of Retail Operations.
“Everything went pretty well,” Dallas said. “We had some vandalism that affected the process. [That] caused some minor delays,” she added, referring to a November incident in which a brick was thrown through the front window.
“This place is probably okay for lunch, but I’d like a different supper,” KunWoo Kim, a junior in the School of International Service said. Friday’s lunch was Kim’s second trip there since the franchise opened.
Not all students plan on indulging in Chicken McNuggets and Quarter-Pounders with Cheese.
“I wish we had something different,” Siovhan Sanders, a sophomore in SIS, said. Siovhan also mentioned that a franchise is located only a half a mile from campus.
“I don’t usually eat at McDonald’s at all. It’s not healthy,” Zac Johnston, a School of Public Affairs junior said.
Despite some detractors, McDonald’s first week of business has been booming.
“Business has been more than expected,” store manager Jason Abrigo said. “Unlike other McDonalds outside the campus [where] you only get business during the morning rush and lunch, here we get a rush every hour.”
McDonald’s Area Supervisor Dale Portillo said that AU’s McDonald’s is offering menu selections such as hot wings and a “Veggie McSandwich” that are not available in many other outlets. Future plans also call for a suggestion box, he added.