The new-look McDonalds restaurant at Thornleigh, NSW is the first of its kind in Australia and embodies the new customer relation strategy of the world’s largest fast food chain.

Tom Williams, Design Director of Juicy Design was responsible for the interior fitout of the recently opened ‘Create Your Taste kitchen’ restaurant and he explains that his architectural contribution reflects the new customer-focussed mantra for the Kingpin of fast food restaurants.

“Driven by a desire to address the changing needs of its customers, McDonald’s recently introduced new concept restaurants that feature innovation in design that no one would expect from them,” he says.

“The Create Your Taste kitchen, first launched at McDonald’s Thornleigh, is an extension of their Create Your Taste gourmet burger platform, it brings the kitchen out in to the dining room of the restaurant, giving their customers a new way to experience the burger building process.”

The reorienting of staff food handling saw Williams and his staff turn to a more artisan approach in the presentation of the product and style of service.

The counter and dining space now resembles a New York style deli more than the familiar McDonalds restaurant layout, and customers are afforded full view of the food making process by peering over the waist height Bianco Venato Quartz bench tops and through the glass bay marine to watch the staff make their custom burgers.

Walls are tiled in an organically formed, rectangular tile laid in a herringbone design. They are 75x300mm in Devon Matt White, supplied by Earp Bros or 20J H.M. Negro (black) Matte finish, supplied by Bisanna Tiles.

The kitsch red and yellow décor that was as much McDonalds as the Big Mac or Quarter Pounder doesn’t feature at the Thornleigh McDonalds, and those traditional plastic upright seats (that were parked so close to the benches it was difficult to eat) have also been replaced by more relaxed and flexible seating arrangements.

Instead Juicy Design opted for timber detailing, dark toned finishes, rhomboid feature flooring and architectural lighting for the Thornleigh resturaunt, a far cry from the McDonalds that we’re all accustomed to.

Timber laminate side boards are New Age Oak, by Wilsonart and were custom detailed by Juicy Design. V-Groove board. Perforated pegboards are painted and custom printed with graphic artwork designed by Juicy Design, printed by Signwave Newtown.

Williams notes that this is all part of a new design direction McDonald’s has already been rolling out in Asia and that it was a combination of forces that shaped the end-product.

“We were fortunate that McDonald’s Australia has the appetite to push the limits of innovation and we were given relative design freedom,” says Williams.

“Thornleigh is the first of two new-look restaurants inspired by local and international design trends, showcasing the next evolution of current design direction McDonald’s has been exploring not only in Australia but also in Asia.”

And what’s it like designing for McDonalds and large franchises versus independents?

“Interestingly the difference is getting smaller as larger brands push for more ‘localisation’ of concepts,” says Williams.

“McDonald’s has been on board with this change for a while now and as a company and a franchise network they have already engaged their stakeholders for change. We worked closely with McDonald’s franchisees to understand their requirements in their effort to address the changing needs of their local customers. With their support, it becomes easier to implement change, enabling us to prove the success of new concepts, and the rest of the network can follow.”



McDonalds Australia

Thornleigh, NSW


Black tiles: 75x300mm 20J H.M. Negro (black) Matte finish, supplied by Bisanna Tiles
White tiles: 75x300mm Devon Matt White, supplied by Earp Bros

New Age Oak, by Wilsonart

Bianco Venato Quartz, by Quantum Quartz

Muuto Unfold and Muuto E27, by Muuto Lamps from Living Edge

JHA engineers

Rhomboid Black Matt Glazed Porcelain 200x200mm tile, from  Freelance Tiles & Stone