McDonald’s; whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite to eat, cure that hangover, treat the kids (or keep them quiet), I find it’s always a dependable option.
But McDonalds often gets disregarded as somewhere that serves unhealthy, poor quality food in an impersonal environment. Is this true? Well I was recently invited along to the McDonald’s Reading restaurant at the Oracle Riverside to find out all that is good to know about McDonald’s.
When I arrived I met some lovely fellow bloggers and the franchise owner of the branch, Richard. Richard’s whole career since he left university has been with McDonalds and before leaving to become a franchise owner he was a Vice President within the company. Richard however, wanted to come back to the place he was born and help others just like him have that first step on the career ladder. He now runs several local branches along with his wife who does the bookkeeping and the family feel continues as his daughter has just started as a crew member in branch.
We started our evening with a tour, restaurant side of the counter.
You might have noticed some digital self-service kiosks popping up in your local restaurant. Rather than having to wait in a queue at the till, you can now quickly and easily order your meal through the interactive screens. This is great if you want to spend a bit of time looking at all the options before deciding what you want or if you’re ordering for a large group.
Some restaurants also have the capacity for mobile ordering and QR scanning. This allows you to order via the McDonald’s app before you’ve even set foot in the restaurant and then you just need to scan and pay on entry.
And good news for me and my fussy eaters. You can also customise your order by adding or removing any elements you love or don’t like. Want a Big Mac without the cheese? Not a problem!
I loved that all the nutritional information is displayed alongside the different menu choices and that if you’re buying Happy Meals with beady eyed kids around the healthier drinks options will always be displayed first.
If you prefer to do things face to face, you can still order with a member of staff at the counter. But even this has been streamlined and modernised with digital menu boards.
Once you’ve placed your order, you have the choice to either collect it from the collection point or request it to be delivered to your table.
Table service is obviously not a new concept but it’s pretty unusual for a fast food restaurant. Just choose the zone you’re sitting in, leave your order number receipt on the table, and a member of staff will bring your food over to you once it’s ready, along with sauces, straws and napkins.
I think this is a great option especially for families, who no longer need to have the added stress of waiting for their food to be cooked, whilst keeping an eye across a busy restaurant on the kids who are meant to be holding a table but are actually playing musical chairs around the restaurant!
Whilst your waiting for and enjoying your food you’ll notice more digital elements to explore. Tablets are available for playing games, browsing the internet or catching up with emails (to name just a few). Charger ports and free wi-fi are available for your own devices as well.
Next we headed to the crew room where we were given our own McDonalds apron, hat and employee badge. Hair net and uniform on, it was time to head into the kitchen.
The kitchen was so organised – everything has its place and everyone had their own unique job to do. I was also really pleased to see was how clean everything was for a busy working kitchen, the equipment was being regularly wiped down and they even have alarms going off every 30 minutes to remind them all to go and wash their hands.
If like me you thought that McDonalds still made all their food in batches and then it sat on the tray behind the counter waiting for someone to come along and order it, then you would be wrong; once cooked, burgers are only kept for a set amount of time, so you know you’ll always be getting freshly prepared food.
We got to see this in action with the team making the orders as they appeared on the screen. And the whole process is seamless let me tell you. Each element of the order was being prepared within 35-55 seconds! The crew all knew their roles and communicated really effectively with each other.
It was then our turn to make our very own Big Mac. I confess now that I had no idea what went into a Big Mac. I’ve never eaten one and I was working at snail pace in comparison to the crew members but I don’t think it turned out too bad and it tasted delicious.
Recently McDonalds have been rolling out their range of Signature burgers and they made a burger for us to have a taste of and compare to a normal McDonald’s burger. These burgers are bigger, seasoned and are more like what you would expect from a gourmet burger restaurant. And the taste? Well it tasted like a gourmet burger too and if I hadn’t seen it cooked in front of my eyes, I would never had said it was from McDonalds.
We then headed back out to the restaurant to have a chat about what we’d seen and of course, eat our Big Mac.
I had a lovely and insightful evening at McDonald’s and I’m impressed at how much it has changed and feel really grateful to have got a glimpse behind the scenes.
Have you tried out any of the new features yet?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of McDonald’s in conjunction with Red Consultancy. All opinions, words and photos are my own.