© Guardian photo
Traffic headed towards the Hillsborough Bridge in Stratford drives by the McDonalds sign at the Esso.
The golden arches are expanding in Stratford.
David McKenna, franchisee for McDonald's on P.E.I., said the time has come to turn the express location into a full-service restaurant.
"We're expanding the entire building with our partners at Esso,'' McKenna said Thursday. "It's predominantly our own needs that are being met there. We'll have all fresh seating, a re-imaged building keeping with our restaurants on the Island.''
It's the first step in what promises to be an ambitious 18-month renovation project involving the two businesses. When everything wraps up, the building will essentially double in size.
McDonald's will be closing in Stratford for more than a month while the construction takes place and Wilson's Fuels, which operates the Esso station, will wait for that work to finish before starting their own renovations.
"We want that to happen as soon as it can so it can be back up and McDonald's is serving customers,'' said Doug MacDonald, spokesman for Wilson's Fuels. "Our renovations will come in a few months, probably in the spring.''
McKenna said work to the restaurant will include new washrooms, a bigger grill and production area, bigger drive-thru and the full menu offered in the larger McDonald's establishments.
"Because of the limited size we weren't able to offer the traditional food items like quarter-pounders with cheese and so on, the larger sandwiches.''
"Stratford has been very good to us. It's time for us to step up our game. Certainly the drive-thru is the bigger part of (the project) because it's a fairly transient traffic there so we're doing everything we can to make it easier to drive through.'' David McKenna, franchisee with McDonald's
McKenna said traffic numbers at the restaurant brought about the decision to move ahead with construction.
"Stratford has been very good to us. It's time for us to step up our game. Certainly the drive-thru is the bigger part of (the project) because it's a fairly transient traffic there so we're doing everything we can to make it easier to drive through.''
Renovations are also underway at the McDonald's restaurant in Montague and there are plans to make changes to the express location at the corner of North River Road and Capital Drive.
Summerside contractors Fitzgerald and Snow are handling the work.
McKenna said there won't be any significant changes to the entrance/exit off Stratford Road.
"Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can do about that. It's just the lay of the land. We've had discussions with the Town of Stratford and (the province) and we're working on trying to mitigate it as much as we can.''
MacDonald said Wilson's plans include renovating the inside of the store and, possibly, building a car wash adjacent to the existing gas station.
"No final decisions have been made yet,'' he said.