I must admit, I love a McDonald’s. Whether you’re refuelling mid shopping trip or need some fries to soak up the booze after a few pints at the pub, it’s always a dependable option.
But people often dismiss McDonald’s as somewhere that serves poor quality, unhealthy food in a soulless environment. Is this true? Well, from my experience, not at all! I was recently invited along to the McDonald’s Newbridge restaurant in Edinburgh to discover exactly what makes McDonald’s.
I was pleasantly surprised by some of the new features that are currently rolling out across UK McDonald’s restaurants – including digital ordering, table service and revolutionary kitchen designs.
Digital Self-Service and Streamlined Ordering
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 group and have lots of things to add.
You can also customise your order by removing any elements you don’t like. Want a cheeseburger without the pickles? Not a problem! Once you’ve placed your order, all you need to do is wait for your number to be called and then you can collect your order – simple.
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. You’ll no longer see things like drinks machines at the tills – this has now been moved behind the scenes to give the counter a sleeker and calmer appearance.
Once you sit down, there are even more digital elements to explore. Some tables in the restaurants are now fitted with tablets which can be used for browsing the internet or playing games.
Another new feature being introduced to McDonald’s restaurants is table service. 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 and place your order via the self-service kiosks or the McDonald’s app. 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.
This is a great option for families, as it means you don’t have to be wrangling lots of children in a busy restaurant – just sit down and someone else will do the hard work for you.
High Quality Food
But what about the food itself? I won’t lie and tell you McDonald’s is a gourmet fine dining restaurant. However, I was very impressed with the quality of the food, and the company clearly take pride in sourcing quality ingredients for an affordable price. The beef they use is 100% British and Irish, with nothing added. Whole cuts of forequarter and flank are minced and then shaped into patties. Once cooked, a sprinkle of salt and pepper is added and that’s it!
When we were touring the kitchen at McDonald’s Newbridge we got to try burgers with and without the salt and pepper and it’s amazing how much difference the pinch of seasoning made – it really brought out the natural flavours of the beef. Once cooked, burgers are only kept for a set amount of time, so you know you’ll always be getting freshly prepared food. Stock is carefully managed (based on daily data) to reduce wastage and ensure as little as possible is discarded.
We also got to try our hand at making our very own Big Mac which was a lot of fun. The kitchen was so organised – everything has its place and everyone has their own unique job to do. Even the kitchen equipment is custom made for McDonald’s. They have a special bun toasting machine to get the perfect toast on the inside of the bun without burning the outside. Unfortunately I can’t share the secret recipe for the Big Mac sauce – even the staff don’t know what the recipe is!
Although the Big Mac is a classic, McDonald’s also have a huge variety of new choices on the menu, many of which are actually pretty healthy. At the self-service kiosks, the healthiest options will be displayed first (e.g. diet drinks will appear higher up on the screen than regular drinks) so you can swap your fries for carrot sticks or choose a lower calorie burger if you want.
McDonald’s Company Culture
We were shown round the restaurant by some of the senior members of staff, and it was so lovely to hear their stories about their time working with McDonald’s. Elliot, the franchise manager, had been working with the company since 1986, before they even opened their first restaurant in Scotland. One lady had been with McDonald’s for 20 years and even met her husband – a fellow McDonald’s employee – while working there!
Although some employees only work at McDonald’s short term (such as students), the company culture is so great that many decide to stay on for years to come.
As well as offering flexible working, which is particularly great for young people, the company also gives back to their staff with lots of training opportunities and even fun social events like an annual sports day. On top of that, McDonald’s supports local good causes and runs community football associations. It sounds like a brilliant place to work… maybe now I have my own apron and name badge I can just sneak in and join the team?!
Have you tried out any of the new features at McDonald’s yet?
This is a sponsored post on behalf of McDonald’s. All opinions are my own.