Elgin McDonald’s unveils new dining hall with kiosks, food delivered to your table


A proven innovative McDonald’s in Elgin on Tuesday unveiled a new dining room design where customers can order from kiosks and have their food delivered to the table.

The Bear Family McDonald’s at 1480 Larkin Ave. hosted a grand reopening for its remodeled dining room, one of under 200 McDonald’s in the country with the design. In addition to the order kiosks, it features a sleek, modern decor and a state-of-the-art air filtration system.

“This restaurant was the first that my family had and we always tried new things there, so it was a natural place for it,” said owner David Bear.

It was also the first restaurant in the world with a side-by-side drive-through. “My dad designed and implemented this and it’s now the industry standard,” he said.

Bear’s parents, Jerry and Marcelle Bear, purchased the site in 1967. The family now owns 32 McDonald’s restaurants.

Bear said they are on a cycle of renovating their restaurants every 10 years and want to incorporate the latest designs and technology. The work took about four weeks.

The first thing customers will notice upon entering are the kiosks and a cleaner, more enclosed front counter that hides most of the kitchen. Customers can order and pay at the kiosks, then bring a number to their table and their food will be delivered to them.

Ordering can also be done from a phone app or old-fashioned at the counter.

“It’s really something,” Marcelle Bear said of the kiosks. She remembers working on an old manual cash register when it first opened. “They are going to have to train me.”

The terminals are accessible to people with disabilities with a voice component and tactile feedback.

The renovated dining room seats around 100 people and includes a pair of tables with built-in colored and heat-sensitive lights.

“You think it’s something for kids, but I guarantee adults are going to love them,” said David Bear.

They also installed an Angel Clean Air UV filtration system throughout the restaurant. The system sucks air through a HEPA filter and then passes through a chamber where it is exposed to UV light, which kills any pathogens or microbes in the air, Bear said.

He said the system is in place at four other locations in the family.

“We’ve seen an 80% reduction in microbes in the air in the other places we’ve installed it,” Bear said. “I feel very safe in there without my mask.”

Director Ron Hornsberger was full of superlatives to describe the overhaul.

“The changes are remarkable,” he said. “This is going to be great for the community, and the customer experience is going to be out of this world.”

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