RESTAURANTS

Coralville McDonald's franchisee expanding to Cedar Rapids, Marion

Owner buying five stores to expand his Iowa restaurant total to 23

McDonald’s (Bloomberg photo by Dhiraj Singh)
McDonald’s (Bloomberg photo by Dhiraj Singh)

McDonald’s franchisee Kevin O’Brien, whose family has a 61-year history with the fast-food chain, plans to expand to the north with the purchase of restaurants in Cedar Rapids and Marion.

Coralville-based O’Brien will buy Cedar Rapids McDonald’s locations at 2615 Williams Blvd. SW, 5200 Edgewood Road NE, 1530 First Ave. NE and 5725 Dry Creek Lane NE, and the Marion location at 100 Sixth Ave. from longtime franchisee Jerry Mrozinski in Cedar Rapids. The sale will be effective Aug. 14.

Mrozinski, who became a McDonald’s franchisee in 1970, will continue to own and manage the restaurants at 610 33rd Ave. SW and 8905 Runway Ct. SW in Cedar Rapids, and 5493 Business U.S.-151 in Marion.

Mrozinski was out of the country and not available for comment.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

O’Brien said each store will be evaluated in terms of potential renovation or replacement.

“We will start with the store on Dry Creek Lane NE off Blairs Ferry Road,” he said. “We will do a major remodel there with the latest modern design and ordering kiosks.

“From there, we will probably move to the Edgewood Road store. After that, we will take a look at the First Avenue and Marion stores.”

O’Brien said he wants to speak with community leaders before deciding a future course for the McDonald’s on First Avenue NE.

“We are looking at the area, which is really starting to come back,” O’Brien said. “There’s a new apartment building that just opened up. We want to see if there are some things we can do to enhance the site.

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“We need to look at all our options, but there’s no question that site will look very different over the next year.”

With the purchase of the five Cedar Rapids and Marion stores, O’Brien will own 23 McDonald’s in Eastern Iowa and elsewhere in the state.

Employees of the Cedar Rapids and Marion stores will need to reapply for their jobs and be interviewed over a two-day period, O’Brien said.

“We will have an orientation and explain the benefits that we offer,” O’Brien said. “We have some things that Jerry does not offer, like a 401(k) plan. We are growing to be a fairly large organization, which makes it more difficult to meet everyone. We have staff picnics, which gives us an opportunity to just have some fun.”

Each McDonald’s will employ an average of about 50 people. O’Brien said the company will be hiring additional employees for all positions.

O’Brien said the purchase of the Cedar Rapids and Marion stores brings his family full circle as McDonald’s franchisees.

“When my parents came here in 1958 from Waukegan, Ill., they initially had their sights set on two locations in Cedar Rapids,” O’Brien said. “When those sites didn’t come through, they were asked to take a look at Iowa City.

“I joined them after they had opened a second McDonald’s in Iowa City and they asked me to come help them. I told them that I was only going to stay six months and then I was going into law and politics.

“And now, here I am. It’s all good.”

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