We all have our own personal McDonald’s memories – for me, it’s the birthday parties that you could host at McDonald’s in the US back in the late 80’s, where all your favourite characters made your day special; for my other half, it’s driving up the Costa del Sol from Gibraltar into Spain after the border was opened to get his very first taste of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s plays a little part in all of our lives, so when I was offered the chance to visit one of their restaurants, and don my hat as an honorary crew member for the evening curiosity got the better of me and I had to say yes.
After all, I am certain that many of us wonder what goes on behind the scenes. It’s a busy operation, I can tell you that, but one that works like a well oiled machine.
My McDonald’s tour not only included seeing the technological advances that have helped McDonald’s evolve in this new day and age, but also included some very classic moments – like learning to make a Big Mac.
We began our tour by getting a sneak peek into the areas that are normally off limit to customers. We were able to see the stock rooms, pop into the massive freezers, and got to take a look at the fresh ingredients that are used to make your McDonald’s favourites.
Before we headed into the kitchen we were taken to the Crew Room and given our very own personalised McDonald’s hat and apron. There were a few extra letters on my name tag, but hey, that wasn’t enough to distract me from the fact that I had my very own uniform, and that I was about to put it on and head into the kitchen.
Making a Big Mac was not one of the things that I can boast about, but the process involves a toaster that has your buns ready in about 20 seconds, a gun that squirts the ever so famous Big Mac sauce, and a carefully followed process that ensures that an old favourite tastes the same no matter where you go. Making a Big Mac was actually quite a lot of fun, but my favourite part was truly seeing how the restaurant has evolved to keep up with not only technology, but the never ending competition.
Gourmet burger joints keep popping up on the high street in every British town I seem to go to, which is why the McDonald’s menu not only carries the standard favourites, but items such as those in their Signature Collection. It was nice to see the range of products in their menu, and it was nice to see that whatever your tastes are you can find a burger you will like.
Did you know that McDonald’s sells more coffee than all of the major high street chains combined? I didn’t either, but that is quite an impressive feat. With their new state of the art coffee machines the future of McDonald’s might just include as big of a variety of coffee choices as any coffee shop, or probably even more!
The behind the scenes look at the restaurant back rooms and the kitchen was quite a lot of fun, but let’s not forget that the purpose of the visit was to see what exactly the burger chain is doing to modernise the Mickey D’s experience.
Well, to begin you can expect to be greeted by a self service machine. The self service machine isn’t meant to depersonalise the customer experience, on the contrary, it is set to enhance it by giving you the opportunity to place your order and personalise it to your specifications.
Aside from being able to order a burger with no pickles or onions (just as I would) you can change the language on the machine, shrink the size of the screen if you are disabled and need to work with a more concise screen size, and select whether you are dining in or taking out. The only downside to some might be that the machine only works for card payments (and tech payments including Apple Pay), but it won’t work with simple, old fashioned cash. For cash payments you will still need to go to a counter.
If you do select the dining in option one of the ways that your experience will be greatly enhanced is by their new table serving offering. The restaurant will be divided into sections, which will make it easy to have your meal brought out to you as soon as it is ready.
The process is really easy and you can follow the onscreen prompts to walk you through it, but the gist of it is entering the number of the area where you will eat, then taking your receipt (which will be printed by the machine) to your table, and waiting for your meal to come straight to you.
This feature is especially helpful if you have children with you, or even if you are just not in the mood to wait at the counter while your food is being prepared. That being said, you might expect a little longer of a delay when it comes to your food, and that is because McDonald’s waits for you to place your order before your food is ever made. Long gone are the days of mass burger making and a hot lamp keeping your food lukewarm at best. What ever extra minutes might be added to your wait will be well worth it when you bite into crisp lettuce, and hot beef.
Another fantastic new addition is the addition of tablets in the restaurant. If you have little ones, or if you want to check something online quickly whilst you are enjoying your meal, then you will know how amazingly simple it will be to have these on the table and ready to use instead of having to use your own device and get dirty little fingers on it.
Thank you to McDonald’s in Clifton, Nottingham for the invitation to explore your store and for sponsoring this post (as always, all opinions and views are my own). If you want more information on the McDonald’s evolution you can go to What Makes McDonald’s page for FAQ’s, and follow @McDonaldsUK on Twitter.