Happy meals and happy smiles are the name of the game today at McDonalds as long lines and quick service welcome the renovated restaurant back into service in Pratt.

Happy Meals and Big Macs are officially back in Pratt. The new McDonalds store officially opened for business at 5 a.m. Tuesday, October 23.

After delays because of location issues and relentless rains that kept pushing the original opening date in July back and back, the last touches were put on the building and an official ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Oct. 22. Employees, executives, chamber members and other guests packed the new facility to watch the official ribbon cutting.

The Pratt High School drum line corp played for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Tonja Harrison of Balloons and More, prepared and set up lavish outside balloon decorations for the opening.

Owner Joe Lane’s vision for the new store has be- come something more

than just a place to eat. In his remarks before the ribbon cutting ceremony, he took the time to thank the many people that made it possible starting with his wife and children. He choked up talking about his family and then again when mentioning others that made the project happen.

“I’m extremely proud of the team. They will be good stewards to the community,” Lane said. “This is not about me, it’s about us. This is about the community and the people that work here and and eat here.”

Lane said he wants to establish a landmark for the community. The previous store just didn’t meet that vision.

“There has been no expense spared for this building,” he said.

Lane has spearheaded several McDonalds remodels through the years but this is the first rebuild of his own store.

JRAL Construction from Wichita was the main contractor for the project with numerous sub contractors including Barb Harris who did landscaping and Younie Landscaping that was finishing installing turf Monday. Hundreds of workers were involved in the entire project, Lane said.

Lane said that the new store employs about 60 but he hopes that number will climb to 80 or even 90. Store Manager Melita Bell will run the day to day operations.

“I feel like we’re going to need them,” Lane said. “I’m confident the team will rise to the occasion.”

It has taken months to get everything installed, concrete paved, landscaping done and finishing touches complete. Some small details were still being completed during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Ray Croc, who created McDonalds had a saying, “We’re not a burger company serving people, we’re a people company serving burgers.” Lane said that what he wants to do in Pratt.

“That quote resonates with me,” Lane said.