BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - McDonald's hopes its triumphant return to West Biloxi inspires other businesses to come back to the beach also. The restaurant will open to the public on Wednesday, eight years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the previous building. This weekend, WLOX got a sneak peek inside.
Employees are busy doing all the setting up it takes to serve Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. Once the new West Biloxi restaurant opens, they expect to be even more busy with lines of hungry people.
"We're expecting this to be a real busy store,"said Manager Maggie Colmerauer. "So we're trying to get staffed up to about 70 to 75 people which is a little bit bigger than our other restaurants."
The McDonald's has a different look that owners hope will leave a good impression with customers. Some seat and table tops are interactive and fun. There are also areas where people can charge their wireless devices.
Jeff Descher of the McDonald's Descher Organization said it is McDonald's new modern design. "This is what they call their living room package. It's more of a homey type of feeling and really made for communities. That's what we're trying to go after here. "
The McDonald's Descher Organization realizes the significance of being back West Biloxi after eight years.
"The store was in a good location before. Obviously after the storm things changed in the area but we really see this area coming back with Walmart moving into the area and some other businesses coming in," said Descher. "We think it's a good opportunity, and we're happy to be back. We're excited to be back. Obviously it took a long time, but we really feel confident about the area and hope that more businesses really want to come back to the beach."
While the company is moving forward, the staff wanted the restaurant to include a reminder of what the Coast has overcome. So a Ronald McDonald statue from the original West Biloxi restaurant will be proudly displayed with signatures of volunteers and relief workers.
"Just because we think it's a good story. Obviously we all know that was a trying time eight years ago," Descher said. "But it's showing we're completing that recovery effort, and we're really making an effort to get back. "
The Descher organization said changes to the layout of Eisenhower Drive caused some delays in getting the restaurant built, however, they're excited to be opening in time for Cruisin' the Coast.