Aug 9, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff WriterThe restaurant offered free food for a year to the first 100 people who ordered a Big Mac.
On the western side of Riverton on Wednesday afternoon, one former fast-food restaurant building sat quiet and empty.
The large, once elevated, roadside sign laid half in the roped-off parking lot and half in the grass.
Aside from a few remaining window stickers and dirt marks on the walls, there was no direct evidence that the building had once been a McDonald's.
Across town on Federal Boulevard, a new version of the restaurant opened its doors to a crowd.
Owner and operator Bob Luck said more than 300 people were lined up outside when he opened it at 11 a.m. He offered free food for a year to the first 100 people who ordered a Big Mac. A similar prize was offered Thursday during breakfast hours.
By 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, there was still a crowd moving in and out of the doors. There were also at least 20 employees, administration and repair crews keeping the restaurant running.
Luck was being pulled in every direction as employees had questions and corporate McDonald's personnel stopped in to see how things were going.
"I left my socks at home," Luck said, pulling up his pant leg to reveal a bare ankle.
In the early days of the new restaurant he's living out of a trailer nearby, and he forgot to pack socks when leaving his Lander home.
Having only been open for a few hours, he felt good about how things were going.
"Everything went according to plan," he said.
The new location sports a number of upgrades Luck is excited about. His other locations in Lander and Thermopolis were already up-to-date, ad now Riverton is too.
Luck was quick to point out the new "dual point" ordering system.
Just like the old system, all orders are sent from the ordering station at the front to the kitchen in the back. But now, all orders are given a number.
Above the left side of the front counter is a screen. When a customer's order is ready, the number will appear on the screen. Customers are instructed to watch for their number.
"I don't want to be calling out the number," Luck said.
All of the equipment and décor is brand new and has a gleaming shine.
"We're going to keep it that way," he said.
In the kitchen, new efficient fryers have been installed. These, Luck explained, self-filter several times a day, and the restaurant can get "three times the life out of them."
There's also the French fry freezer that automatically portions out the frozen potatoes.
Another addition to the Riverton McDonald's is dual drive-through lanes. Cameras take pictures of cars at the time of the order so employees can match them with the correct order.
Not everything, though, was complete. The office was having its safe installed, and a water leak dripped from the kitchen ceiling. Crews worked non
To monitor traffic on the first day, Luck hired members of the Riverton Police Department to be on hand.
"I'm paying for it," he said, noting that the security came at no cost to RPD.
As far as the old restaurant goes, Luck said that it was "de-arched," the process of removing trademarked McDonald's insignia.
Most of the old equipment was sold to other operations, and on Friday all refrigerant in the cooling systems is scheduled to be drained.
Within the next couple of weeks, the old Main Street McDonald's will be demolished.
"The corporation owns the property," he said, adding that as far as he knew, the land had not been sold.
McDonald's on Federal Boulevard is open 24 hours Thursday through Saturday. The other days of the week it opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 1 a.m.
Luck said the hours would be re-evaluated after Labor Day.
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