According to a piece from the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, it is just a coincidence that five different Tri-Cities fast food franchises are getting makeovers at the same time.

The locations, three Arby's, (2 Kennewick,1 Richland), the Southridge area McDonalds in Kennewick off of 27th Ave. and SR 395, and a north Richland Taco Bell have, for the most part, remodeling kitchens, major bathroom plumbing projects and installing new technology in common.

Many fast food national brands like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Arby’s and their franchisees must invest heavily to keep up with the times and technology. The inevitable updates can sometimes take up to two years to plan, moving an entire franchise to a new, more advantageous location can take much longer.

You've probably noticed self-order kiosks popping up at many different fast food brand restaurants everywhere and that's only going to get more prevalent. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated customers switching to fast-casual options over sit-down, table service.

The McDonalds on Quillan in Kennewick will no longer sport a play structure and some of the siding has been stripped. The $285,000 project will bring the location's bathrooms and parking lot into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, widen a too-tight drive thru lane and add 400 square feet of space to the structure, among other improvements.

Even longer overdue, is the north Richland Taco Bell in the Washington Plaza, at McMurray Street and George Washington Way, it's 17-years older than the Kennewick McDonalds being redone, and it's currently closed undergoing an $800,000 renovation.

The exterior to that Taco Bell has not been significantly updated for 30 years.

Three of the four Tri-Cities' Arby’s sandwich shops will be remodeled starting in November. Pasco's Arby's was built in 2005, so there are no plans to modify that restaurant. The Richland Arby's plans have not been submitted, but both Kennewick Arby's have been given the renovation green light.

Arby’s drive-thrus will stay open, but the dining rooms, already closed by the pandemic, will remain closed. An Arby's press release noted the chain is waiting for locations to be allowed 50% operating capacity under Washington's Safe Start program. A modified Phase 1, allowing only 25% capacity, is the current standard.

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