When Las Vegas becomes too new, scary, costly or overwhelming, there's comfort to be found in the reassuring menu of a McDonald’s. Not every visitor or local can afford Strip prices and many guests discovering the less than sunny side of the Strip can reach into their pocket and dine on Las Vegas Boulevard for less than $5 while taking in the billion dollar sights.
The first McDonald’s to be built inside a casino used to reside in the basement of the Barbary Coast until demolished to make way for the Drai's After Hours nightclub. The novelty of offering fast food inside a resort has since long disappeared, but the savage competition for the fast-casual food market is causing even the originators to reboot their strategies. Among their more than 100 local outposts, five Las Vegas McDonald’s have upped their game to make a visit more just a value meal.
Debuting in May 2012, the unique 24-hour Metro McDonald’s at Harmon Corner was designed to pull in a new type of customer, one who wouldn't normally make a McDonald's their first dining choice.
The 6,734-square-foot, split-level space features chandeliers, unusual seating and to justify the "Metro" label, Wifi access and graffiti murals on the walls. While any tagging on the restaurant exterior outside would be reported as a crime, inside the McDonald's team is happy to call it "art."
But this art is less about creativity and ambiance than secret marketing. At first glance, while the graffiti script appears genuine, it is made up of marketing buzz-words like "fresh" and tasty" and more blatant subliminal hints for guests like "hamburger," nuggets," "happy meal and "like toys."
The Metro McDonald’s debuted with celebrity servers and a live DJ, but immediately after slipped back into the full-time business of burger slinging.