The McDonald’s “Golden Arches” logo is one of the most recognizable commercial symbols in the world, but there’s one place where the arches are actually blue instead of yellow.
Inside, the McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Sedona, Arizona looks just like the thousands of other McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. However, if you go outside you will notice something strange. The iconic Golden Arches logo is blue instead of yellow. It’s actually the only McDonald’s in the world that doesn’t have a yellow logo, and all because of the stunning natural beauty, particularly the red rock formations that surround Sedona.
Photo: Nicholas R. Gioello, Sedona Community Development Department
The small Arizona settlement was incorporated as a city in 1998, and it wasn’t long before a local entrepreneur decided to open a McDonald’s restaurant there. There was only one catch; Due to the beautiful natural landscape of Seldona, the local authorities wanted all businesses to blend in with the natural landscape of desert and red rock instead of distracting from it.
The bright yellow arcs of the original McDonald’s logo were seen as distracting. When franchisee Greg Cook approached the community development department about opening the restaurant, they worked together to find a compromise. In the end, they settled on the teal blue of the mall next door, which was seen as a tamer option.
Interestingly, Sedona also strictly regulates the height of the store signage, which makes the iconic arches of this McDonald’s restaurant much lower than other restaurants in the United States.
Back in 1993, when the Sedona McDonald’s first opened its doors, the blue arches were viewed by its owner as a worthwhile compromise, but it turned out to be great for business in the long run. As the only known McDonald’s with blue-green arches instead of yellow, the small-town restaurant has become a tourist attraction.
“I’ve seen people with their families get out and take photos in front of the sign,” said Nicholas Gioello, development services manager.
To this day, the city of Sedona enforces specific laws that regulate sign brightness, exterior lighting, and the colors of building materials to preserve the natural beauty of the area.