Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

McDonald's New 'R Gym' Being Tested in Tulsa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

McDonald's New 'R Gym' Being Tested in Tulsa

Article excerpt

A new effort by McDonald's Corp. to help kids become more active was unveiled Monday to the sounds of joyful screaming, laughter and clapping hands.

The company's first-ever R Gym PlayPlace debuted at a McDonald's restaurant in east Tulsa.

The R Gym contains toys and games to help children burn calories: climbing walls, dance games, basketball hoops and traditional climbing toys are included. The restaurant, at 1829 S. Garnett Ave., is also sporting a new, more futuristic design, inside and out.

Company officials couldn't say Monday how many of its restaurants might get the new playgrounds.

We're testing the concept. There will be a series of focus groups and studies on how it's accepted among the children and the parents, said Benjamin Aguirre, area construction manager for McDonald's.

One thing we know is that we're aligning ourselves behind an active lifestyle, by promoting physical activities for the kids. We're hopeful that it will grow legs.

McDonald's officials said Tulsa continues to serve as a national test market because it's a great snapshot of the Midwest communities the company serves. The R Gym is the fourth such test in the Tulsa area since 2003, with previous efforts including Happy Meal choices, new restaurant designs and wireless Internet service.

Bob Wagner, the Garnett Avenue restaurant's operator since 1989, said the establishment had an outdoor playground, but it didn't have the interactive toys the R Gym offers. The playground was enclosed with a building expansion.

Wagner believes the indoor playground will provide a boost to the restaurant.

Based on its cost, it needs to contribute, Wagner said. We just opened it last Friday, so it's too early to tell. However, based on the amount of kids who are using the place, I'm sure it will be pretty successful. - We're happy with the restaurant, the way it looks and operates. …

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