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Portland Road restaurant installs new technology, fresh beef for quarter-pounders

McDonald's celebrated its grand re-opening Saturday with food specials, a celebratory cake and a DJ cranking out top-40 songs. The re-opening coincided with the installation of self-ordering technology and the introduction of fresh beef to its menu.SUSAN BRANNON - Mike and Roxanne Kennedy, owners of the Newberg McDonald's and several other stores in the area, spent the last three months overseeing a complete makeover of the Portland Road location.

Owners Mike and Roxanne Kennedy spent the past three months overseeing a complete makeover of the Portland Road store. They chose new colors, a new play area featuring touch-screen games and a renovated children's play area. The effort took some testing and re-training of employees on new kitchen equipment to ensure that the store would be in perfect working order for the re-opening.

"It took a lot of work with this while running (our) other stores," Roxanne Kennedy said.

The store is redesigned in natural tones, digital drive-through menus and new interactive kiosks that give the customer the option to place an order at the counter or to interact with a machine akin to a phone app where icon buttons are used to place orders and pay electronically.

If the customer wants to eat in the dining area, they are instructed to grab a place holder with their order number and enter that number into the kiosk. The place holder is loaded with a blue-tooth GPS system that allows the server to find the customer quickly.

Unlike the old days when burgers were pre-prepared and lined up under a hot lamp ready to serve, quarter-pounder hamburgers are now cooked to order with fresh beef using a system featuring a timer.

"There is a lot of preconceived notions of fast food and McDonald's in general," Mike Kennedy said. "When the customers get the opportunity to see the quality of our products and the quality of our raw ingredients -- whether it is fresh eggs, fresh produce and now we have fresh beef and all of our produce is of the highest quality and we are very proud to serve to customers."

As part of the opening, the restaurant hosted a Mac's education night with $3,000 in proceeds going to Antonia Crater Elementary.

"We've have a longstanding relationship with Crater; it's been seven years and we do this two times a year," Mike Kennedy said.

"We bring in a local school and the teachers interact and will work the counter and serve french fries," Roxanne Kennedy said. "The students come to see the teachers. It is a way of giving back and its fun too."

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