By: Mariah Diaz – News Editor
A car with a William Paterson magnet on the trunk waits in line to place an order in the newly opened McDonald’s drive thru. Pulling up to the McDonald’s window, an arm extends from the car and hands the woman their pioneer card.
In return, the woman hands back a brown paper bag and an iced cold beverage, along with their pioneer card. The car pulls out of the drive thru and parks in the lot, rummaging through the bag and begins eating.
For months, McDonald’s sat lonely and empty without the students of WP to fill up the seats inside and buy food. Now, the restaurant is reopened and back to serving the students of WP with the swipe of their Pioneer card.
The reopening of this restaurant now adds another option of food places that take pioneer money. WP students will benefit from this considering many places that once took pioneer money have closed down such as the 7-Eleven and Momma’s Boy.
Currently, the McDonald’s is only open via drive thru. The lobby of the restaurant is still under renovation after last year’s fire, but their kitchen is full fixed and is in use.
The full reopening, which will have the finished lobby for people to eat inside, is scheduled for April 11.
“It’s so hard finding places to eat around campus,” said senior Jakai Hawkins. “I always get tired of eating the same things all the time but I hate having to use my cash on food.”
“I had lost hope that they would reopen the McDonald’s,” said junior Nathaly Padua, who witnessed the fire in August. “Now I can go back to having my late night McDonald runs.”
Padua had originally witnessed the fire as she was leaving Park Wayne Diner on her lunch break. The fire originally started due to a malfunction with the deep fryer but no one suffered any injuries, according to a report from the Wayne Police Department.
The restaurant wasn’t allowed to reopen until the town health inspectors checked that it would be safe for employees and customers. The kitchen is the only part of the restaurant deemed safe at the moment.
Despite students not being able to eat inside the restaurant, many are just excited to be able to go there for food.
“I’m just happy I can go there again and not have to use my cash,” said Vanessa Rios, a WP senior. “I’m definitely going to run out of pioneer money soon.”
Rios visited the restaurant on the first day it opened on March 17 and said she waited in line for at least 20 minutes. When she got to the window to get her food, she saw workers practically running around trying to get orders together.
“I felt so bad for the workers,” she said. “I should have waited a couple of days to go there for food. I didn’t realize it would be so packed.”
According to a woman working in the drive thru, the majority of the customers they have been receiving are WP students paying with their pioneer card. So many students came opening day that the machine used to swipe pioneer cards broke down.
She continued by saying that the machine froze from the constant transactions being made on it. She had to make a customer wait 10 minutes as it rebooted.
The woman eventually got the machine to work again after rebooting it and the rest of the transactions were fine.
Besides the minor mishap with the card machine, the Hamburg Turnpike McDonald’s continues to flourish. Once the lobby is finished, it will have a brand new seating area, drink dispensers and counter top, according to current workers in the McDonald’s.
The new improvements will make the McDonald’s look more modern and appealing to customers.