McDonald’s on S. 5th Avenue to be razed, rebuilt

June 18, 2018

Patrons wishing to visit the McDonald’s on South 5th Avenue within the next few months may be surprised to find it gone.

“We will be knocking that restaurant to the ground,” said Mary Johnson, who co-owns all three McDonald’s locations in Pocatello and Chubbuck with her husband, Mike Johnson.

The South 5th Avenue location, which was built in 1979, is going to be completely rebuilt. Saturday, June 23, will be its last day of business before the old restaurant is torn down.

“It’s had a good run, but let me tell you, 40 years is a long time for a building with the volume of a McDonald’s and all the changes,” Johnson said. “In 1979, there were computers nowhere, and now they run everything.”

The new building will be larger and feature more parking as well as a double lane drive-thru. Johnson said she and her husband acquired the real estate next to the building by entering into a long-term lease with Idaho State University, which owns the property, to make the expansion possible. Additionally, the restaurant will be repositioned so the entrances are on the side roads.

“Turning onto Fifth can be a little dicey sometimes,” Johnson said.

The new restaurant will feature a wood and stone interior design, one of the many new design options the company has rolled out in the last couple of years in an effort to rebrand the restaurant.

Newer McDonald’s eateries might now have geometric chairs or quartz countertops and warm, aesthetically pleasing color palletes, courtesy of the company’s 36-person design team. Local owners, such as the Johnsons, choose the design they want and tweak it to fit their restuarant’s size and needs.

“It’s a very pretty decor,” Johnson said. “It’s very modern. It’s more like a coffee shop, really, than a restaurant, and I’m pretty excited for the people of Pocatello and Chubbuck to see it.”

The new building will also have technological features such as mobile order pay, digital coupons and the order kiosks that are already available in the Yellowstone location.

“[The kiosks] just give us more order points and more flexibility for our guests,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, all 45 employees of the South 5th Avenue location will be temporarily transferred to the other two restaurants while the construction is taking place. Once the new restaurant is finished, about 25 new employees will be hired to support the larger building and its larger number of guests.

The South 5th Avenue location currently has the lowest volume of customers, which Johnson said surprises many people, since it’s located on the Idaho State University campus. But Johnson said sales slow significantly in the summer, when many students are away.

“But we’re optimistic that that could change with the footprint,” Johnson said. “We should be able to increase our volume significantly just by having parking stalls and a much more efficient drive-thru that will support our capacity.”

When the new restaurant opens, Johnson said they will also change it to a 24-hour restaurant like the other two locations— on a trial basis.

“We will have to see if there is the volume to support it being open 24 hours,” Johnson said, “and to have three 24-hour restaurants in the area.”

The new restaurant is scheduled to open some time in October, though Johnson said they do not have an official date yet.

Johnson said they also plan to remodel the Chubbuck restaurant some time within the next year to incorporate the new design options.