HEARTH EXPRESS CLOSED

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. here has abandoned its single-unit Hearth Express restaurant concept, which targeted the home meal replacement market.s spokeswoman said.The test-site restaurant was opened early last year in Darien, Ill., near the company's corporate office here.Many supermarket chains, meanwhile, are modifying their deli formats looking for ways to capture more of the meal replacement

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. here has abandoned its single-unit Hearth Express restaurant concept, which targeted the home meal replacement market.

s spokeswoman said.

The test-site restaurant was opened early last year in Darien, Ill., near the company's corporate office here.

Many supermarket chains, meanwhile, are modifying their deli formats looking for ways to capture more of the meal replacement business.

The fast food giant, however, concluded that "this concept is not a viable and significant long-term growth opportunity at this time," said Hearth Express project director Jeff Stratton, in a statement.

"We've just decided to concentrate on our traditional business, which is expanding rapidly," added a spokeswoman for the restaurant chain. "We'll be opening 1,200 to 1,500 units in the next year, instead of the planned 900 to 1,200," she said.

When asked what was learned from the test, the spokeswoman said "things about kitchen design, equipment and menu items," but wouldn't offer further details.