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Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the world’s fast food hamburger giant wants to go for that chic coffee house look.

According to the story, “In the next five years, McDonald's plans to spend billions of dollars to remodel thousands of U.S. restaurants with new features such as plasma TVs, lounge chairs and electric fireplaces. In addition, the chain is replacing its signature mansard roof and brick exteriors with stone facades and contemporary, eyebrow-shaped arches on the sides of the roofs.”

The challenge: “McDonald's CEO James Skinner still must persuade franchisees to shoulder more than half of the cost of restaurant remodeling - an effort that could total as much as $1 million per store - only a year after asking them to shell out up to $100,000 per restaurant for improvements needed to launch specialty coffee.”

Analysts seem to feel that this shift matches McDonald’s desire to sell more premium products and therefore raise its average transaction, moving in the direction of such chains as Potbelly and Starbucks.
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