Monday 23 October 2017

Exploring #YourNewMcDonalds - #Ad

The worst mistake I made when visiting a McDonald's was ordering a root beer. I went in alone to the Marble Arch branch on Oxford Street in London and thought it was rather daring to order something so exotic. I'm not sure what I expected it to taste like but it was disgusting. After that when ordering food I have never veered away from a Diet Coke. In fact these days my entire order never seems to change. How many other people have the same mindset?

Things have been changing at McDonald's recently. If you haven't been in one for a while I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. The restaurants with a 'Drive Thru' have been a common feature for some years now but recently many McDonald's have introduced a new way of ordering inside. Of course you can still walk straight up to the counter but now you order from new digital screens and have your meal brought to your table. I paid a visit to the Aldwarke Lane branch in Rotherham to see for myself how all the new changes are taking shape.
Situated on the well-known Mushroom Roundabout this McDonald's is one of three franchises run by Franco Ventura and his right hand man Matt. Both of them started working at McDonald's as teenagers. Between them they have racked up over 50 years of experience with the company. They have taken on roles that have seen them covering the running of restaurants and retail operations across the UK. When the time came to run his own franchise he knew it was Matt that he wanted to come on board with him.
Their enthusiasm for the company is infectious. It's no surprise as they have been part of the company for so long and there have been so many exciting changes recently. They were keen to show us the new digital screens which you can now order from. Instead of making up your mind in a rush while you queue at the counter the screens take you through each part of the menu. Suddenly you are presented with choices you never knew were available at McDonald's.
In the first week of the screens operating Franco and Matt couldn't understand at first why they were running out of certain items like carrots sticks. This was because customers didn't realise there was an alternative to fries but now the screens were offering new and different options. With so much choice that I never knew about even I could now be persuaded to choose something different! 

The screens also give lots of other information. Worried about calories? Each item has the information displayed next to it. It makes for some interesting reading as many food choices are much lower in calories than you would think. The quality of the food and its provenance is important to McDonald's. Their beef is sourced from the UK and Ireland, all their eggs have been free-range since 2001 while the milk used has been organic since 2007. After competing your order you can either go and collect it from the counter or request for it to be brought directly to your table. Each restaurant is now divided up into zones so you'll find a menu screen in each one and your meal will soon be whizzing its way to you. 
Anyone can walk into a McDonald's and order some food but only the very privileged get to make it. It was time to don my cap and apron, pin on my name badge and get into the kitchen! Each order is made just for that customer. I was amazed at how quiet the kitchen was. This is down to variety of screens around the kitchen showing which order needs to be made up in each section. Each employee is trained in each section so everybody can do any of the jobs. After scrubbing up it was my turn to be shown how to make the most iconic of all burgers – the Big Mac!
Each of the three parts of the bun are lightly toasted while the burgers are being grilled. Once the buns are ready the burgers go on with a squirt of the Big Mac sauce. Then you add on the extras with the gherkins just touching but not overlapping, a precise amount of shredded lettuce and chopped onions plus a slice of cheese. It's a good job I was only making one for myself as I doubt Franco and Matt would have been impressed otherwise with my lack of speed!

Finally I was able to enjoy my full meal. The new décor looks great and is really fresh and welcoming. There's the all important free WiFi and no need to worry running your phone down as there's plenty of chargers about. If you have a compatible Samsung mobile just place it on the wireless charging pad. It was also the first time I have ever found a Google Pixel compatible charger. Result!

If you don't have a mobile or want a larger screen to look at there's a selection of tablets to choose from. They are all preloaded with a range of apps so whatever the time of day you can catch up on the latest news or keep entertained with some games. Early morning sees McMuffins, porridge and bagels before moving on to lunch with business meetings and friend meet-ups and then after school treats. It's the place for everyone at any time of day.

This post is sponsored by McDonald's who invited me to try #YourNewMcDonalds.

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