Hundreds of people spent hours sitting on the curb outside McDonald’s Tuesday night in anticipation of the opening of the restaurant and free Big Macs.
Murray’s new McDonald’s opened for business at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, and offered a year’s worth of Big Macs to the first 100 customers and gave away prizes every hour for the first day of being open.
Shayna Busche, senior from Waterloo, Ill., got in line at 8 p.m. with a friend. The two of them were approximately 20th in line, but it wasn’t only the reward of free burgers that inspired them to wait.
Busche said she wanted to be able to cross this experience off her bucket list.
“I can die knowing I won Big Macs for a year,” she said.
Busche said she was excited to have McDonald’s back in Murray.
“I really did miss McDonald’s,” she said. “The thing I honestly missed the most was the sweet tea. No one makes sweet tea like McDonald’s.”
Murray residents have been without McDonald’s since the 40-year-old building was demolished in mid-July.
The new facilities are larger and include two drive-thru lanes and more than double the car capacity.
Cathy Elliott, marketing director for the nine McDonald’s in the franchise, said the new McDonald’s in Murray is the largest store out of the 750 in the franchise.
She said the McDonald’s team is glad to be back open in Murray.
On Monday afternoon McDonald’s hosted a VIP Party prior to the ribbon cutting for the new building Monday afternoon.
Angel Clements, general manager for the Murray McDonald’s, said the party was for other McDonald’s owners or operators as well as local dignitaries.
Clements took over as manager Aug. 1 after the previous manager was promoted to a higher position. She said the re-opening process has been crazy and hectic, but a lot of fun.
“We have a good team here, and it took everyone to get it ready,” Clements said.
Clements has a returning crew of about 70 people, and she said an additional 50 have been hired.
David Villers, an employee of McDonald’s, has worked at the Murray McDonald’s for two years and was in charge of giving tours of the new facility during the VIP party. He showed off the new restaurant and explained the process of the beverage and dessert as production, or BDAP, station.
The BDAP station is new to every McDonald’s in the district, and it is a section of the restaurant that is strictly for making drinks and desserts.
Villers said he’s excited about everything being new, and he’s happy to be back at work in Murray.
“What I’m most excited about is getting back to work and serving the customers here in my hometown,” he said.
Emily Davis, junior from Hazel, Ky., has gone to the McDonald’s in Murray since she was 2 years old. She started the line for the re-opening at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
She passed the hours keeping a running count of the people in line behind her.
Davis missed McDonald’s during the months it was being rebuilt, but she said she wasn’t only in line for herself.
Davis said she wanted to do something for her father, who has leukemia, and she thought of the free Big Macs.
The Ronald McDonald House Charity presented Murray-Calloway Parks with a contribution of $3,025 at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Tab Brockman, parks director, said the money will be used to build a new fence around the playground at Central Park.
Story by Kate Russell, Staff writer