updated 05:40 pm EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Idea for install taken from French McDonalds, uses same leasing company
At a newly constructed McDonalds restaurant in Virginia Beach, owner Hugh Fard decided to try something that no other US Mcdonalds has tried -- four booths have iPads that restaurant customers can use for free. McDonalds has no current plans to try out the installation at other locations inside the US, or give the option to other franchisees, and are taking a "wait and see" approach to the success or failure of the program.
Fard discovered the iPad idea in April while attending an annual McDonalds franchisee convention in Florida. A French company had developed an iPad feature for 20 European locations, and Fard immediately thought it was a great idea and wanted to bring it to his restaurant. He sought approval from McDonalds headquarters in Oak Brook, finally receiving permission months later. The iPads are leased from Weblib -- the supplier of the iPads for the French company's installation. Weblib not only maintains them, but will also replace them if stolen.
"I love it," said Ricky Pritchard, 49, after he and his wife finished breakfast. "I've been sitting here a little too long." He and his wife surfed the web and accessed Facebook while eating on the installed iPads. Victoria Pritchard noted that the mounted iPad made it easier for them to share screen time than at home. "It's going to keep people here longer, I can imagine us coming here all the time." Victoria said.
The Bonney Road location near Virginia Beach's Lynnhaven Mall is a haven for workers looking for Wi-Fi and a comfortable location to work. Fard tore down the previous McDonalds at the location and completely rebuilt it with the iPad installations. [photos via PilotOnline]