I’d like to apologise for thinking unkindly of you for quite some time, I fear I judged you harshly in the past. I’m a big enough girl to admit my mistake and so I'm sorry
I won't lie I've been annoyed with McDonald’s in the past, as have sometimes found they haven’t had my favourite veggie burger available. It all started many moons ago when I was just old enough to go to McDonald's with my mates, I was a veggie, at the time McDonald's offered a veggie choice as a special SOMETIMES!
Imagine my surprise and intrigue when they asked me to come take a look at the ways in which they are working to improve the McDonald's experience for everyone!
Of course I said yes and went along with an open mind.
Man alive I had such a great afternoon! Bill is the Franchisee of Tyneside retail Park (and 5 other branches) greeted us and shared his journey with us. He was so open and friendly when talking about his decision to become a franchisee (the 4th ever in this country!) He has his family involved in the business (his Daughter Emma is about to become a Franchisee too) and they really believe in the brand, they are passionate and enthusiastic and they really showed us loads about the restaurants and business that I liked A LOT
|My finished (and first ever eaten) Bic Mac|
|Ready for action!|
EfficiencyTheir food order systems, their stock ordering system, the cookers and heaters and even the layout of the kitchen are all set up to be the most efficient system possible. Orders are fed directly to the kitchen via screen, the food prep line is staffed by people with specific tasks and they know where everything is because ALL of the kitchens in the restaurants are set our the same. That same computer system predicts demand and cooking requirements based on previous sales patterns, so there is almost no food waste which brings me to my next point....
|All you need to know to build a burger properly|
|The 'line' which runs like clockwork|
|Look at the neat and tidy pure organisation of the prep area, this is reflected everywhere across the restaurants|
I think its easy to think badly of huge corporations and believe they aren't doing all they can for the environment but McDonald's are committed to reducing, in fact eliminating, their landfill contributions. They aim to be a zero waste company by 2020 and THEY ARE ON TRACK! They recycle everything they can and when they get a delivery that same lorry takes away waste cooking oils to be transformed to bio diesel to power their delivery vans! My inner hippy loves this!
Homegrown FoodAll of their food is produced in the UK and Ireland, All of it! Their chips are made by UK company McCain, and everything else comes from British suppliers, meaning they reduce the impact of transport on the environment.
A sentence I really didn't believe until I saw for myself! McDonald's food is made using free range eggs, and only ever breast or flank meat . They only order enough for the coming few days so everything is fresh. All the food prep and storage is changed and cleaned every four hours and burgers are only kept for 20 minutes but they are rarely ever wasted because they hardly ever make too much because of the super duper systems in place
CleanlinessCleanliness and hygiene are paramount, the restaurants are continuously checked, employees wash their hands every 30 minutes, protective clothing is worn for the 'dirty jobs'. Hair nets are everywhere so no one has a reason not to be wearing a clean new one.
So most kids love McDonald's right? But its not exactly a relaxing place... well actually its getting better, there are places to charge your phone, family focused ordering on the new computer ordering self serve screens, (more in a minute) family friendly wifi filters on their free to use tablets to keep the kids entertained and safe. AND table service!!! It's like they started this for me!! Sarah explained 'its not always easy to juggle kids, prams, bags etc while ordering and then carry your food, find a table get settled, so this way we can bring your food to your table'
I mean honestly simultaneously ordering food, checking allergens for Termite, having 'eyes on' 3 kids, and finding a seat in a busy restaurant gives me the heeby jeebies sometimes! No longer shall I fret! Touch screen ordering, select table service, sit down and relax. Its just a thumbs up from me!
So a while ago we went to Portugal, it rained, we were stuck miles from the hotel and McDonald's was shining in the gloom. The kids were overjoyed (remember I wasn't a fan) but we were in a really non touristy spot and so English wasn't widely spoken, explaining allergies was starting to make me sweat when I noticed the order screens. Available in many languages and the great thing is you can customise each part of your order. I loved it and I'm so happy these screens are here now.
Basically you just use the touch screen, order what you want, customise it, no pickle (sacrilege), no ice in your drink, no lettuce etc.
Choose your drinks and extras, choose to collect or have table service and you are done. The screens show dietary information and you can adjust display height on them so the info is at a lower level, so the right height for a wheel chair user or at child height. I loved this next feature, when ordering a happy meal the drinks with least sugar are shown first, so water milk and fruit juice on the first option screen, then you have to click 'more options to see the pops and milkshakes!
McDonald's are a huge local employer, a huge global employer in fact but they really are doing something right. the manager of the store we visited has been there more than 20 years, McDonald's put him through university and he seemed genuinely happy in his work. They offer great benefits, free food, loads of incentives and a really good training or graduate programme. With 500 staff in the North East they are contributing massively to our local economy and they have to be doing something right to keep that many people on board for so long. And as if I needed proof of this (I didn't) I made a comment on Facebook about researching McDonald's and discovering their Trainee Manager starting salary was 5 grand higher than my salary in Theatre Management. I was overwhelmed with positive comments from friends who'd done the training programme and felt it set them up with fabulous life skills and transferable professional experience, friends who knew of people who'd worked there over 2 decades and considered them amazing employers
Honestly I can't tell you haw eye opening my visit was and whilst I'm not saying its great to eat there every day, its all about balance isn't it? My kids are overjoyed that Mammy has taken McDonald's off her veto list!