2:56 pm PST 13 Feb 97 - Starting 19 February, you'll be able to
order a side of World Wide Web with "le Big Mac," as the world's
first Internet-savvy McDonald's opens its golden arches in Lyon,
The 200-seat franchise in the southwest district of the city will feature two computers on the first floor with live Net connections. The restaurant will be decorated "in a theme of the Internet," says a spokesperson for McDonald's France, with a map of the world on the wall and four clocks displaying the time in Lyon, London, Tokyo, and Chicago. Customers opting to surf the Web as they munch McNuggets will purchase smartcards, allowing them a fixed amount of online time.
Ann Connolly of McDonald's International told Wired News Thursday that "it ... was a decision made by McDonald's France to try this," and says that the global corporation has "no plans for additional restaurants that would have the same features at this time." The location of McDonald's first wired outpost was chosen for its proximity to local schools and a stadium.
By testing French waters for its first Net-enhanced franchise, McDonald's will join Apple and Starbucks in launching theme restaurants offering by-the-minute online access in 1997. In the past year, similar establishments in Tokyo have been closing their doors, as outdated Net gear and inflated prices hasten the passing of the "cybercafé" fad in Japan.