McDonald's Express

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TenPoundHammer
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McDonald's Express

Post by TenPoundHammer » 22 May 2011 01:35

Are there any "McDonald's Express" locations still around? How limited were their menus?

I remember four in the Flint area. Strangely, three of them were extremely close to existing McDonald's:

* One was in Clio. There had been a traditional McDonald's on the SE side of the exit since maybe the late 1970s, but in the early 1990s, they built a Mobil station on the NW side that had a McDonald's Express in it. Said Express location didn't last more than a couple years. It was later a local eatery, then sat vacant for a very long time before becoming a Rally's around 2007. That's right, a Rally's in a gas station.

* One was in Flint proper, on Miller Rd. at Linden. Once again, McD's had a location on the other side of the exit, but this existing BP station added an Express in the late 1990s. Gone before 2000, now a drive-thru liquor store.

* One was in the small town of Linden, about 2 1/2 miles from a standalone McDonald's opened about 5 years prior. This one was also in a BP station; the station is now Beacon & Bridge, and I think the Express is a local sub shop.

* And finally, there was one in the Amoco (now BP) on Mt. Morris Rd. @ I-75. This one was also open for only a couple years. I stopped at this station around the time it became a BP, and there was still a seating area in the front for McDonald's patrons. The kitchen was walled off, and they had the gas station's coffee and pop machines set up on what had been the McDonald's counter. The owners told me they were planning to replace it with a Taco Bell Express, but that never happened. I don't think there's a restaurant there to replace it. Unlike the other three, this one wasn't near another existing McDonald's.

Also, a large number of Meijer stores had McDonald's in them. I remember that all three "original" Meijers in Flint had McDonald's in them — Pierson Rd. and Center Rd. both had it in a balcony, but Hill Rd. just had it at the back of the store. Unlike the reduced-menu ones in Walmart, these ones were all full-service McDonald's if I'm not mistaken. They felt just like your average McDonald's at the time. I'm not sure what replaced the other two, but I know the McDonald's in the Hill Rd. store was obliterated when the grocery section was rebuilt, and a "regular" McDonald's put in across the street.

Did McDonald's ever join forces with any other retailer besides Walmart or Meijer? When did they debut the "express" style stores?

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Groceteria
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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by Groceteria » 22 May 2011 13:16

There was a McDonald's Express at 7th and Market in San Francisco in the mid to late 1990s. The thing I remember about it is that they didn't have the grill facilities to cook quarter pound patties, so all the sandwiches that would normally have those came with two regular ("ten-to-one" or 1.6 ounce) patties instead, including the then-available Arch Deluxe.

Photo of location today.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by robdude » 25 May 2011 22:47

[quote="TenPoundHammerAlso, a large number of Meijer stores had McDonald's in them. I remember that all three "original" Meijers in Flint had McDonald's in them — Pierson Rd. and Center Rd. both had it in a balcony, but Hill Rd. just had it at the back of the store. Unlike the reduced-menu ones in Walmart, these ones were all full-service McDonald's if I'm not mistaken. They felt just like your average McDonald's at the time. I'm not sure what replaced the other two, but I know the McDonald's in the Hill Rd. store was obliterated when the grocery section was rebuilt, and a "regular" McDonald's put in across the street.

Did McDonald's ever join forces with any other retailer besides Walmart or Meijer? When did they debut the "express" style stores?[/quote]

Really? Meijer? Not in metro Detroit, to my knowledge. The Auburn Hills and Frenchtown Township (Monroe) W*Ms had McDonald's locations when they were new. They had Triple Cheeseburgers instead of Quarter Pounders.


One of my nearby BP gas stations (15 Mile at Harper, Clinton Township) has a full menu McDonald's in it. There are two nearly identical stations not far from here on Gratiot (a Mobil at 696 in Roseville, another one out at 26 Mile near New Haven, don't know what gas they have now).

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by Brian Lutz » 28 May 2011 04:15

robdude wrote: Did McDonald's ever join forces with any other retailer besides Walmart or Meijer? When did they debut the "express" style stores?
I recall that the short-lived Incredible Universe store we had here for about a year in the mid Nineties had a McDonald's inside.
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TenPoundHammer
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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by TenPoundHammer » 11 Dec 2012 05:48

The Farmer Jack at 8000 W. Outer Dr. in Detroit opened in 1995 with a McDonald's Express in it. Anyone know if any other Farmer Jacks did this?

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by submariner » 11 Dec 2012 11:19

TenPoundHammer wrote:The Farmer Jack at 8000 W. Outer Dr. in Detroit opened in 1995 with a McDonald's Express in it. Anyone know if any other Farmer Jacks did this?
I don't recall any other Farmer Jack stores with fast food restaurants in them.

In my old hometown of Allen Park, there's still an express just off Allen Rd. & Southfield Rd.

I'm sure it's changed since then, but originally the menu didn't include chicken products (spare the McNuggets and possibly McChicken sandwich, since these were fried and not grilled)
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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by Super S » 15 Dec 2012 14:50

Although I have not been there in a few years, there is a gas station on the west side of I-5 Exit 88 near Tenino, WA that has a McDonald's in it. Or at least was a few years ago.

More recently, I visited a Chevron station on the way home from Seattle a month ago which had a Jack In The Box attached, and that looked like a full-service restaurant, but had a hallway that connected to the Chevron, which itself had a Food Mart. The restrooms were common to both and located off the hallway.

Also, near Napavine, WA, a gas station (previously Chevron) was recently rebuilt into a Love's Truck Stop and has a Carl's Jr. in it. Not sure if it is full-service or not...Carl's Jr. is not a chain I care for.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by tkaye » 15 Dec 2012 20:34

I was surprised to find a shot of the McDonald's Express that used to be across from the ferry terminal at First & Washington in Bremerton, Wash.:
Image

If memory serves, it was in this location from about 1992 to 2003. The grill, supply storage, and front counter were all sandwiched (pun intended) in a very small area, next to which was a little alcove for self-serve beverages. There was seating for maybe 15 customers max. I seem to remember it serving a full menu, except that there were no milkshakes or ice cream, because there was simply no room for the equipment. It was very spartan in terms of seating and decor.

It replaced a much larger restaurant that was located a block away, in a now-demolished building next to the shipyard gate at First & Pacific. It was one of the early "urban" style McD's from the late '70s or early '80s -- the type with a full counter with gold trim and florescent lights and a big, wide open seating area featuring lots of light brown tile.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by pseudo3d » 01 Aug 2016 23:23

McDonald's was in a lot of stores besides Walmart, Meijer, and what is mentioned here. The Houston Auchan, Fry's Electronics, Sears, Bass Pro Shops, Jewel-Osco. At least two of these were for pilot programs that never got off the ground.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by storewanderer » 07 Aug 2016 14:44

It is getting a little blurry at present now if McDonalds needs to go back to some "express" sort of branding for the mall and Wal Mart locations. I make this comment because I am finding those locations do not serve the full McCafe menu and also do not have the full "all day breakfast" menu offering (they offer for instance only hotcakes and no McMuffins all day).

I am not clear in the 90's if the "Express" designated limited menu, designated limited seating space, or designated a combination of each. But it sounds like it was inconsistent from location to location exactly what was missing from these "Express" locations. For a brand that prides/prided itself on consistency (we can probably argue how well they do at that but no reason to go that route) this was a curious move.

It is my understanding the gas station/McDonalds combinations are actually all owned by McDonalds (current gas operators are actually tenants of McDonalds) and when they started, McDonalds was even operating the gas station/convenience store element. Some of the original ones in IL have super small convenience stores.
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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by pseudo3d » 11 Aug 2016 15:07

storewanderer wrote:
It is my understanding the gas station/McDonalds combinations are actually all owned by McDonalds (current gas operators are actually tenants of McDonalds) and when they started, McDonalds was even operating the gas station/convenience store element. Some of the original ones in IL have super small convenience stores.
That may be the case for some, but in addition to not being the majority of the ones since closed since there (at least if Michigan is anything to judge...), one of my local gas station/McDonald's combos closed while leaving the gas intact. I remember an Exxon/McDonald's (there was a dry cleaners there too, attached but not connected interior-wise) south of town that opened around 2000. It must have been relatively popular, as it had a large roadside sign (the type that splits into two to hold the gas station sign and the Golden Arches), and it was the only place to eat for miles (3 miles to the north was where the town started, and nothing for another 15 miles south). In 2012, it moved out of the gas station to a stand-alone location on the other side of the freeway, as by that time, it was now in the midst of commercial development. The McDonald's sign was covered up by a blue tarp while the building got brown shingles that made it look a bit like an older Taco Bell. Eventually it was filled with a Mooyah.

Other fast foods integrated into restaurants that are just walk-up counters (and not a connected building with a shared restrooms) seemed to be leased operations as well (like a Subway three miles north or a Long John Silver's-turned-Chester's about 36 miles south).

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by storewanderer » 15 Aug 2016 00:04

Interesting notation that those locations offered deep fried pies due to lack of space for an oven. http://burgerbeast.com/2009/07/16/mcdon ... da-closed/

What else does McDonalds make in its oven besides the pies and cookies? I remember they used the ovens before for the pizzas.
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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by Super S » 15 Aug 2016 14:55

storewanderer wrote:Interesting notation that those locations offered deep fried pies due to lack of space for an oven. http://burgerbeast.com/2009/07/16/mcdon ... da-closed/

What else does McDonalds make in its oven besides the pies and cookies? I remember they used the ovens before for the pizzas.
I could be wrong about this, but I thought the biscuits for breakfast sandwiches were at one point baked on-site.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by Buckethead » 07 Apr 2018 02:09

While McDonalds may still lead the pack, they're coasting on their name at this point. A mere shell of their former quality.


Have any of you guys seen how their burgers are made now? I have a young cousin who worked there a few months ago. It's all kept in drawers and they put the burgers together like a puzzle. Feels fake when they hand it to you, which it is. I hadn't liked them in years but I'm not going back ever again unless they take things old school.

I take my business to In N Out, Five Guys, Habit, etc. Mcdonalds will stay where it belongs...my childhood memories.

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Re: McDonald's Express

Post by storewanderer » 07 Apr 2018 03:42

Buckethead wrote:While McDonalds may still lead the pack, they're coasting on their name at this point. A mere shell of their former quality.


Have any of you guys seen how their burgers are made now? I have a young cousin who worked there a few months ago. It's all kept in drawers and they put the burgers together like a puzzle. Feels fake when they hand it to you, which it is. I hadn't liked them in years but I'm not going back ever again unless they take things old school.

I take my business to In N Out, Five Guys, Habit, etc. Mcdonalds will stay where it belongs...my childhood memories.
Burger King and Wendys use similar "drawers" for their burger patties and so does KFC (for strips, nuggets, wedges) or Popeyes (for strips, nuggets, seafood)...

I think McDonalds Express had heavy use of microwave in lieu of such drawers.
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