You'll sometimes see large communal tables in the front of fancy-ish restaurants as an alternative to waiting an hour for your own table. But a communal table at McDonald’s? That's what Jesus Sanchez spotted at the Echo Park location, and it's become a popular spot for friends and families. As Jesus notes on his Eastsider blog, the large table is an idea imported from the chain's restaurants in Europe and Australia.
The table has proven popular with customers since the restaurant reopened in October. It seems to be the early morning domain of elderly men sipping coffee before groups of kids and families fill it up at other times of the day. The large surface makes it easy for customers to spread out the Happy Meals and food trays, said one employee. "It's more comfortable and has more space" than the booths, said one employee, who did not want to be identified by name. "On weekends, when people bring in their families for breakfast, it's always busy."
By the way, if you're searching for a company that seems to be doing reasonably well during these dark economic days, try McDonald’s. Seriously. In a glowing Sunday profile, the NYT finds that the fast-food giant is winning over some of its most hardened skeptics.
The chain has managed to sustain its momentum even as the economy and the restaurant industry as a whole are struggling. Month after month, McDonald’s has surprised analysts by posting stronger-than-expected sales in the United States and abroad. As of November, the latest data available, the company had delivered 55 consecutive months of increases in global same-store sales. During a year when the stock market lost a third of its value — its worst performance since the Great Depression — shares of McDonald’s gained nearly 6 percent, making the company one of only two in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share price rose in 2008. (The other was Wal-Mart.)
Best to be cautious, though. Companies on a roll that long have a way of stumbling, just as you're ready to purchase shares.