By Ryan Cornell
WOODSTOCK -- Al Boxley, owner of APB3 Enterprises and of eight McDonald's locations in the Shenandoah Valley, takes a look out the window of his newly reconstructed Woodstock franchise.
Across from the parking lot's freshly painted lines and arrows, still bright and unfaded, and the orange traffic cones blocking the entrance from Reservoir Road, another fast food restaurant sits directly on the other side of the street, its lot filled from the Monday lunch rush.
"You see that Burger King over there?" asks Boxley. "Now tomorrow, there won't be that many cars over there."
After a 100-day tear-down-and-rebuild process, the Woodstock McDonald's opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday to sell its first hotcakes and hash browns since closing in early March.
Despite what might seem like a quick turnaround to many, Boxley described it as "a little on the slow side," noting other locations that have sprung up in 50 and 80 days.
In that three-month span this spring, when the closest location was in Strasburg, he said customers definitely expressed their yearning for the golden arches.
"They wanted us to put up a kiosk out front and sell sweet tea," he said. "They said, 'Why can't you do that?' I don't think the health department would let us do that."
The updated McDonald's structure boasts a variety of changes and new improvements.
The eatery follows a "dual-point" style system with separate counters for placing orders and picking up food.
Five large TV screens display the menu behind the cashier counter, advertising everything from the classic Big Mac to the relatively new Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Another two TV screens planned for the dining section of the fast food restaurant will broadcast the CNN and FOX news channels.
Yet another screen hangs above the pick-up counter, displaying a number when each customer's order is ready.
"Instead of yelling out the number, the number will be up there on the screen," Boxley said. "Instead of saying, 'I got a Big Mac and fries,' they won't have to do that anymore."
Outside the store, two drive-thru lanes are positioned side by side. Boxley said it helps create shorter lines and less of a wait time for drive-thru customers, who represent about 65 percent of the franchise's business.
A camera also takes photos of each car -- but not of the license plate nor the customer, Boxley said -- so employees can serve them the correct order.
He said the store did away with its PlayPlace because of liability risk.
Nearly all of the lights have been replaced by LED lights, Boxley said, and old equipment has been replaced by more energy-efficient versions.
The sewage line and main water line for the store, which were about 40 years old, have also been replaced.
The McDonald's, located at 335 W. Reservoir Road, was one of the town's first fast food restaurants when it arrived in Woodstock in 1977.
The eatery has 86 seats and Wi-Fi access for customers and will keep the same hours as before, including 24-hour drive-thru service from Thursday to Saturday.
The location has 61 employees, about 40 of whom are returning from before.
Jose Guzman is the manager of the location.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org