The Big Mac and McFlurry will get closer to the action in Millsboro this week as McDonald’s relocates south.
Recent months have seen the new restaurant spring up in Peninsula Crossing Shopping Center on Route 113, near BJ’s and Lowe’s, with plans to bid farewell to the old location at the north end of Millsboro, at Route 113 and Delaware Avenue.
“Looking in the next however many years, certainly that’s going to be the commercial center of Millsboro and this part of the Route 113 corridor,” said owner/operator Mike Meoli, noting that the older location was “left on an island on the north side of town, which is a little more residential, a little less commercial.”
Hungry customers will get the first taste of the new McDonald’s on Friday, Oct. 12, at a soft opening set for 10:30 a.m. As a bonus, the first 100 customers will win one free Extra Value Meal per week for the next year, redeemable in the Millsboro location.
But the celebration doesn’t stop there. All month, people can register for the grand prizes to be awarded at the grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 10. Two digital tablets will be given away. Also, the Ronald McDonald clown will personally make an appearance at the grand opening.
Indoors, the new location boasts a variety of modernized seating and a dual-point ordering system, which just means that customers order at one side of the counter and then slide down to pick up their food. That prevents people from clustering around the register. The flow of customers also improves outside, with two “drive-thru” ordering stations and an extra pick-up window. Drivers and employees should be safer in the well-lit parking lot, because cars waiting for long orders can park at the third window.
“One of our biggest obstacles was the [former] site was just two small,” said Meoli, recounting how cars filled the busy parking lot and blocked traffic on Delaware Avenue.
Meoli said “most of the same staff” and some new hires will staff the new restaurant.
“People are very excited for the opportunity to work in a brand new store. It’s a nicer atmosphere. Customer feedback that we’ve gotten back so far has been positive,” Meoli said.
Meoli said the move was expensive, but in the long run, it was worth it to jump ahead of the competition in such a prime, populous shopping center.
“I think that shopping center is going to be the place to be,” said Meoli, noting that he aimed to create a more convenient and efficient system. “You will see a very vibrant, modern lobby… Customers, I think, will embrace it.”
In the future, Meoli said, he hopes to also add digital ordering, so people can order food online to pick up later.
Meoli is a second-generation McDonald’s owner, currently running six locations in Delmarva. He has been an owner/operator for more than 20 years, taking after his father, Tony Meoli, whose own career hits the four-decade mark this month.
“I was 8 when my father built his own. It’s all I’ve ever done,” said Mike Meoli, who worked in restaurants through high school, becoming assistant manager in college and working his way up to partner with his father. “I like to think were a very good team.”
The older, 26-year-old Millsboro building first opened in October of 1986 and closed Monday, Oct. 8. It will be demolished and the land sold.
“We’ve had a great history and expansion in the Millsboro community,” Meoli said. “The customers have been great. We’ve felt very welcome. We’re excited to provide a bigger restaurant.”
The new McDonald’s is located at 30255 Commerce Drive in Millsboro. Additional information can be found online at www.McState.com/34154.