VMSD - July 2014 - (Page 64)
Interview by Sarah Whitman
McDonald's director of retail interiors for U.S. restaurant design embraces the fast pace and
reactive nature of designing for the world's biggest fast food brand.
Describe your job in a nutshell.
My team does everything from developing new decor packages to designing solutions
for the service area. We also work on flagship restaurants and family engagement areas.
You have a degree in architecture. What inspired that interest?
My father was a shop teacher and taught a small architecture class. He actually
designed the house I grew up in and I always thought that was very cool.
How did you get into retail design?
I think there's always been a magnetic pull. I like the pace, how reactive it is, how you
can see results faster. It's also more about people and behavior, as opposed to form and
Good Times, Great
Like most Gen-Xers, McDonald's was a
favorite childhood spot for Kincer:
"My father would take me to McDonald's
for breakfast every Saturday morning so
my mom could sleep in. ... When I started
working here, I brought that memory with
me, and it makes me want to figure out
how we can provide opportunities for
those memories and moments to happen
for all of our customers. How can we help
create those happy family moments?"
What's been the most rewarding aspect of working for McDonald's the past three
I was pleasantly surprised with everyone's open attitude to new ideas. That was a little
different from my experience with other retail clients who had tight parameters for
their branding. And everyone is so nice! I was also surprised by how work happens so
quickly with a design team of around 40 responsible for modernizing more than 14,000
McDonald's is the first restaurant corporation you've worked for. What new
challenges has the job posed for you?
The durability aspect - the way a restaurant space is used by customers. They sit down,
get comfortable and eat food versus a retail space where you shop. Also, everyone is a
McDonald's customer. There's no singular customer profile - the entire population is
our customer - which is a unique challenge.
Where do you and your team find inspiration?
I read a lot of magazines, browse Pinterest and pay attention to the environment around
me. Chicago is a big food town, so my team is constantly exposed to new restaurants.
Do you have any advice for young designers who aspire to have a job like yours?
Find your passion, but know that you'll still have to do things that are not fun - every job
has those. What matters is that you're proud of your work at the end of the day. x
64 JULY 2014 | vmsd.com
COURTESY OF MCDONALD'S, OAK BROOK, ILL .
What's the most innovative restaurant design trend you're seeing?
It's interesting to watch companies try to tap into how people shop with mobile devices.
How can we integrate that technology into our restaurant experience - and how much
of that do people really want?
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - July 2014
VMSD - July 2014
On the Edge
Brick, Mortar and Pestle
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
Showroom: Props & Decs
VMSD - July 2014