BERLIN: McDonald's, the fast-food restaurant chain, is placing greater emphasis on its green credentials in Germany, as part of its overall effort to change perceptions about its brand across Europe.

Some 2.58 million people dine in the American company's outlets in Germany every day, and it has previously announced plans to expand its operations in the country over the next two years.

As part of this process, the Oak Brook-based firm will open 40 new stores in the European nation this year based on a new design model, which includes stone and wood, a template it ultimately aims roll out to a number of existing franchises before the close of 2009.

"Simplicity and a focus on the essentials is the new design philosophy," Holger Beeck, deputy head of McDonald's in Germany, said.

"With the new appearance, we want to clarify our responsibility and relationship with natural resources. In the future we will put an even larger focus on that."

McDonald's opened its first "EE-tec" restaurant in Germany earlier this year, boasting high levels of energy efficiency, and it is also set to change the background colour on its logo from red to green in order to enhance its eco-friendly positioning. 
With regard to these types of activities, Martin Nowicki, a McDonald's spokesman, said "this is not only a German initiative but a Europe-wide initiative."

Data sourced from Associated Press/Spiegel Online; additional content by Warc staff