McDonald’s has, since its inception in the 1940s, been synonymous with family fun and fast food. Tuesday morning at the local O’Reilly’s McDonald’s in Van Alstyne, this was no exception.


For several months, McDonald’s has been undergoing major renovations, including the kitchen area, the dining room, the addition of a second drive-through order lane, a newly-designed outside dining area and new landscaping all the way around. The culmination of all that effort was the Tuesday, Nov. 21 ribbon cutting with the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce.


It started with a free breakfast for attendees, using the new individualized order placement board, or kiosk. That will be available for all customers, who can then go over and pay for their order, be seated and be served at their tables.


Joining the Van Alstyne Chamber members were the directors of both the Economic Development and Community Development corporations; Mayor Pro Tem Teddie Ann Salmon; restaurant owner Chuck O’Reilly and many of his corporate staff; and, maybe most importantly — Ronald McDonald.


Everything was well under way, including normal commaraderie, and when Ronald McDonald walked through that front door — big red shoes matching his big red hair and all else one would expect of the clowning icon — little eyes lit up and little mouths turned up in big smiles. Ronald McDonald had his photo made with everyone who asked and then settled in for his unique type of magic show, complete with a circus tent backdrop and music. Those smiles soon turned into laughter.


O’Reilly said that, with the addition of the second drive-through order lane, they can handle up to 200 orders and hour, wih the the kitchen able to keep up with that pace.


“If you remember, with one lane the cars often blocked other traffic, such as those getting gasoline,” said O’Reilly. “I think we’ve remedied that. We don’t want to be part of the problem.”


The decor is in keeping with the corporate McDonald’s growing standard of excellence, O’Reilly said. And the landscapers have a little more to add to the outside, he added.


But it’s the national and local benefits provided McDonald’s employees that get O’Reilly excited. Those include a chance for employees to get their high school diploma, “and that’s not a G.E.D.,” O’Reilly said. There are also opportunities for financial help with their college work. McDonald’s also offers English as a Second Language as a way to help employees become even more invaluable in the workplace.


O’Reilly, who owns similar McDonald’s in Plano, McKinney, Anna, Frisco and Allen, said that it’s important his employees enjoy their work. And to boost that along, he gives them, their friends and their families a summertime picnic and a Christmas party with awards and live entertainment.


They are also involved in the community, through donations, fundraisers, event participations, and ways to recognize the local teachers, police, fire, and other local government officials and volunteers.


O’Reilly said that working with the city officials was a pleasure and that city hall was helpful with a “let’s get you open” attitude.


And as a way of having more fun, at noon Saturday, McDonald’s will be ribbon-cutting its enclosed doggie area, which is complete with a fire hydrant.


Learn more about the local McDonald’s Online at www.OReillyMcD.com