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Feng Shui flows at McDonald's outlet...

Do you want fries with that Zen?
California McDonald’s aims to boost sales with Feng Shui

Water appears as a waterfall inside special wall panels at this

zen-influenced McDonald's in Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Rene Macura / AP

Extra 2/25/2008 12:22 PM ET
A California fast-food joint seeks to help customers tap their inner Zen while lingering over Big Macs and fries. It's been good for business, too.
By the Associated Press
The only familiar signs at the McDonald's in the large Asian community in Hacienda Heights, Calif., are the golden arches, the drive-through and the menu. Gone are the plastic furniture, Ronald McDonald and the red and yellow palette that has defined the world's largest hamburger chain. Leather seats, earth tones, bamboo plants and water trickling down glass panels have taken their place.

The makeover elements are meant to help diners achieve happiness and fortune -- whether they realize it or not. That's because the restaurant was redesigned using the principles of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of arranging objects and numbers to promote health, harmony and prosperity.

The concept is an unlikely fit with fast food. But the restaurant's owners say the designs are aimed at creating a soothing setting that will encourage diners to linger over their burgers and fries, and come back again. The makeover is part of the attempt by McDonald's (MCD, news, msgs) in recent years to remodel hundreds of its restaurants to attract more patrons with unique decor and amenities that might entice them to stay awhile.....

A McDonald's in California is betting that a Zen-like atmosphere will be good for business.  The basic principles of Feng Shui include placing strategic representations of five natural elements -- earth, water, fire, metal and wood -- around the room to increase the flow of chi, or energy.

Feng Shui (fung shway) has been employed in the designs of high-rises, banks, even zoo exhibits, and has been popularized by countless coffee table books and TV shows such as HGTV's "Fun Shui." It's also used in the designs of the Panda Express Chinese food chain.

The McDonald's in this Los Angeles suburb boasts wood ceiling, silver-coated chairs, plus red accents throughout the dining area to symbolize fire and "good luck, laughter and prosperity," said Brenda Clifford, who designed the dining area. The textured walls patterned after ocean waves symbolize "life and relaxation -- the balanced things that you want in your life," she said.

Customers are responding positively, whether or not they recognize the Feng Shui elements. "When we first walked in we were amazed, we were happy we skipped the drive-through and went inside," Andrew Chen said while lounging in a white leather booth with a friend...

This article was reported and written by Daisy Nguyen for The Associated Press. For the complete story: