One of the nation's oldest fast-food names has become one of the newest players in the busy InterQuest area on Colorado Springs' far north side.
McDonald's opened this month southeast of InterQuest Parkway and New Allegiance Drive, joining the lineup of sit-down, quick-serve and fast-food restaurants in InterQuest that includes rivals In-N-Out Burger, Burger King and Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Whataburger is expected to arrive this year.
The InterQuest location is the latest McDonald's for husband-and-wife franchisees Nayan and Purvi Naik.
They bought their first McDonald's in the Springs in 2015 and now own and operate restaurants at 207 N. Wahsatch Ave., 324 E. Fillmore St. and 5765 Constitution Ave. to go with the InterQuest location. Purvi is one of the few female owner/operators of Indian descent in the McDonald's system, the couple said.
Chicago-based McDonald's targeted the InterQuest site for a new restaurant in 2019, and the Naiks were granted franchise rights to the location, Nayan said.
InterQuest — east of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway — has become one of Colorado Springs' hottest residential and commercial hubs; it's homes to dozens of restaurants, stores, hotels, entertainment venues and hundreds of apartments.
Also nearby, Ent Credit Union is poised to open a new headquarters in InterQuest; Centura Health broke ground in May on a 72-bed hospital; and In-N-Out opened distribution and production facilities late last year to go with its nearby restaurant. New Life Church and Pikes Peak Community College's Rampart Range campus also draw thousands into the InterQuest area.
"Since 2015, we've seen the development happening up in the InterQuest Parkway area and we felt that McDonald's had to have a presence there," Nayan said.
McDonald's will have plenty of competition at the InterQuest location, but the Naiks say the restaurant's familiar brand and menu items, customer loyalty and advances in service and technology — designed to enhance speed and convenience — will be big pluses.
In addition to traditional orders placed at a front counter, McDonald's customers can order at kiosks when they walk in the door, where they can pay with credit cards and, by month's end, with cash, Purvi said.
Mobile order-and-pay options are available on the McDonald's app, which allow customers to order on their smartphones before they walk into the restaurant or once they're in the door; food is then brought to them at their tables or customers can pick it up in the restaurant's drive-thru or designated parking spots.
The 4,500-square-foot restaurant also has a slightly larger kitchen that will accommodate newer equipment, Nayan said. One such addition: an optimized preparation line or conveyor belt system that allows sandwiches and other food items to be prepared and then moved to employees more quickly for bagging before they're handed to customers.
Speed and consistency and familiarity of McDonald's items will be key in the InterQuest area, where many customers will drive to the restaurant from nearby jobs or off I-25, the Naiks said.
"When you're on a 30-minute lunch, which a lot of these business people are, they just want to be able to get their food, enjoy their quality meal at a reasonable price and be able to get back to work," Purvi said.
Technology upgrades at the InterQuest McDonald's don't stop with food preparation and ordering, the Naiks said. The restaurant, in partnership with the state's fast-charging program, will be one of the first McDonald's in Colorado with a fast-charging vehicle station, where two electric vehicles can charge 30% to 50% of their batteries within 15 minutes, when it is installed.
In addition to encouraging a reduction in carbon emissions, "you come out to McDonald's, you get your food quick, you get your car charged quick and then you move on," Nayan said.