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Northeast Promoters Expand Concrete Usage at McDonald's

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Back in late 2011 and early 2012, John Gallagher, with Lehigh Northeast Cement in Massachusetts noticed an increasing number of McDonald's properties that were being revamped to include double drive-thru lanes, reports NRMCA Senior Director, National Rsources Doug O'Neill. These lanes would include postage stamp concrete areas around speaker boxes usually surrounded by asphalt paving. He stopped by one local project under construction and asked a few questions and was told by one contractor that they, "use what they are told to use and concrete is too expensive".

Gallagher took it a step further and called the McDonald's regional office located in Westwood, MA, and asked for a contact name for someone in the construction division. To his surprise, he was connected to the regional construction manager who told him,  "if you can save us some money, we’ll listen".
He then elicited the help of Howie Burns and Michael Kane with the Massachusetts Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association (MaCAPA) and met with the construction group at the McDonald’s regional offices in March 2012. Kane used pictures of McDonald's concrete parking lots from across the country courtesy of NRMCA and its partners in those locations, along with the NRMCA’s Concrete Pavement Analyst software to compare concrete to asphalt costs, which opened up a lot of eyes. The reason for the change to the double drive-thru lanes is because McDonald’s was seeing a 40% increase in drive-thru sales when a second drive-thru lane was added. Noting that concrete parking lot decisions still come from McDonald's headquarters in Illinois,  the concrete promotion team focused on decisions that can be made from the regional level, which included drive-thrus. So they simply asked the question "would they consider concrete for full wrap around drive-thru lanes as a starting point?"

There have now been at least four new and reconstructed McDonald's in the New England area that have incorporated the suggestions from the promoters from Massachusetts. Now they are seeing projects that need 40+ yards of concrete instead of the 1-2 yards normally seen with the postage stamp sized drive-thru areas.

"This certainly wasn’t an overnight success," commented Burns from MaCAPA. "That’s why it’s so important to continue our collaborative promotion efforts, to see more successes like these."

"The effort it takes for our industry personnel, whether it’s a cement representative or a ready mixed concrete producer sales person to simply stop and ask the right questions is minimal," Gallagher added. "What about your parking lot? What about extending your drive-thru? Simple questions that we all could be asking that would significantly increase our business for both cement and concrete!"

For more information, contact Doug O'Neill at

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