SOUTH CHICAGO — The new franchise owner of a South Side McDonald's said customers will soon appreciate changes he plans to make this year including remodeling the restaurant's lobby and hiring more employees.
Lance Jones Sr. became the new owner Thursday of the McDonald's at 2425 E. 79th St. He also owns McDonald's restaurants at 9560 S. Halsted St. and 600 E. 115th St.
And the 54-year-old husband and father of two adult children is no stranger to the South Side after living in nearby South Shore while a student at Illinois State University.
"I know the neighborhood has its challenges with crime but I believe with the right changes this McDonald's can be even more profitable," said Jones, who lives in south suburban Matteson. "I want customers to know that we do have a security guard on site seven days a week."
Anita Harris, 29, said there have been a lot of shootings around the restaurant and was optimistic Jones could make customers feel safer.
"Maybe he could, maybe he can't, but at least he's trying, so I have to give him credit for that," she said. "Too many teenagers come here when they get out of school and that's when it gets crazy."
But besides maintaining safety for customers Jones said he also plans to remodel the lobby to make it look "more friendly and welcoming to customers."
The restaurant has more than 20 employees, and Jones also plans to do more hiring.
"I had my first staff meeting with employees this week and it appears that many of them live in the neighborhood," Jones said. "I would like to hire more people to help the restaurant improve its overall customer service."
The 24-hour restaurant offers free WiFi to customers and it has an ATM in the lobby.
Two buildings away from the McDonald's is a Subway, which Jones said he is happy to see.
"Competition brings more foot traffic to the area and that could benefit not just me but all the businesses around here," Jones said. "I like community service work. It is what I was raised to do."