New innovations at McDonalds

I was recently invited to an afternoon at McDonalds.

Not THAT exciting you might be thinking, but just you WAIT and see what I got up to!

I was in this South London branch, Balham, to check out the fantastic new digital kiosks and order & collect system that’s been installed into a number of McDonalds stores across the UK.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that have them, then you’ve probably tried them out already!

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There aren’t any in my local branches so this was the first time I’d seen them. They’re in the experimental stage at the moment so the technology is constantly being tweaked and improved as the feedback from customers comes in. The aim is to make the ordering process much more interactive and relieve that all important queue time!

The touch screens are incredibly easy to use. If you want to order something a little more complex than your bog standard meal, there is a section for it. You can even request your fries to be unsalted, or have no onions or sauce etc. They do, literally, provide for every eventuality and usually once you’ve ordered an item, it’s at this point you go in and add any changes. Once you have placed your order, you then collect it at the counter, where it should be pretty much ready straight away. The ordering machines take bank cards as payment but they don’t accept cash. If you want to use cash you can go to the counter like you normally would. The counters are still there and a helpful McDonalds staff member will only be too happy to serve you, this won’t change. But from I could see in this Balham branch, almost everyone ordered at the screens!

We had a little play around with them and I can see how they would appeal to customers. It’s such an efficient way of ordering and actually, you get to see much more of what’s on the menu. Most McDonalds don’t show the whole range on their photo’s behind the counter, so unless you’re reading the very small menu print… which, when you’re worried about the person behind you in the queue getting annoyed because you’re taking too much time.. you probably don’t. In that respect, scrolling across the screens and having everything to view right there, is much more beneficial.

But even better than that, there is also an option for ‘Table Service’! Yes, you read that correctly.

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I love this!

If you don’t want the hassle of going to collect your food yourself… maybe you have small children with you and you want to grab a table, you can put in a request for it to be brought to you. The refurbished restaurants have different seating ‘zones’ so the screen simply asks you where you’re sitting and that’s it! Someone will bring your order over! Very upmarket!

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Demonstrating this was Franchisee Mike Smith. He owns 10 restaurants across South London and Surrey including this one in Balham. He is a McDonalds employee success story and such a lovely and inspirational person. Mike started working at McDonalds as a Saturday boy at 19 years of age and within the extensive development programme that McDonalds runs for it’s staff, he progessed up the ranks. After Managing a store he moved into the corporate side of the business and traveled all over the world, implementing the brand into new Countries. Constantly training and learning new skills, he was the perfect person to become a franchisee and has never looked back. It was great to hear his story and a real eye opener to what a great employer McDonalds really is, and confirmation that you can start at the bottom and with hard work, you can achieve great success.

The ordering machines aren’t the only new tech in this branch. There’s even a designated area that has ‘tablets’ built into the tables .. so while you enjoy your meal, you can surf the web, log into your social media (be sure to log out though!), play games or even watch a movie!

I was totally blown away by this! I mean, this is super contemporary… so twenty first Century!

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I remember when McDonalds first appeared in our local town… must’ve been the very late 70’s or early 80’s! It was all about Ronald McDonald then. They really pushed that character onto us kids but actually, he really made it great back then! There was a big opening event and I remember it being a huge deal. The whole concept of fast food was new and it was exciting! It was VERY child orientated though and a little tacky really.

Fast forward thirty odd years and McDonalds has evolved beyond all recognition really. Shaking off that tacky, cheap feel and replacing it with a stylish decor and becoming more about the food and dining experience than gimmicks. Anyone can eat at McDonalds these days and feel comfortable.

Our visit included a tour ‘backstage’ so to speak. We got to go into the state of the art kitchen and make our very own iconic Big Mac!

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We even had our very own apron, hat and badge given to us… how cool is this?

The kitchen has been recently revolutionised and everything (as I imagined) is extremely efficient and precise. The kitchen staff are very busy so everything has to run like clockwork and it does. Each member of staff is highly trained so they can cook and prepare your meals in a set time and to perfection.

These coloured trays are for the cooked meats. They have timers on and if the meat isn’t used within a certain (very short) time frame, it’s thrown away.

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The grills are a brand new design and cook the burgers in about 1 minute. Everything is incredibly clean, tidy and highly productive. The work surfaces are even heated so as to keep the food hot as it is prepared.

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The Big Mac is a craft in itself. Every step is perfectly measured from the time of toasting the bun and the exact weight of the onions and lettuce! The gherkins are placed in such a way as to achieve a piece in every single bite of the burger!

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Very proud of my finished masterpiece!

The final part of the day was to taste test the brand new Signature Range that’s being trailled at the moment. This consists of three burgers.. Classic, BBQ and Spicy. They are a thicker, meatier burger.. the type you would expect to find in a high end burger restaurant. The bun is brioche, which really gives it a wonderful taste and texture.

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The new Signature range is only available in selected stores at the moment but I do hope they roll it out to all stores as it’s truly impressive. The whole look, from the bun to the box, screams superior and can easily compete with any elite burger out there.

I had a great time at McDonalds learning about all the new innovations… my kids can’t wait to get their little hands on that ordering screen, I must find a branch that has some near me! I definitely think they improve the whole dining experience.

I was at the Balham branch during the busy lunchtime period and I have to say, the whole restaurant was calm, there was hardly anyone at the counter, no one was rushing around and there was just a really civilised vibe going on!

I was invited to McDonalds to learn about the new innovative technology and the Signature range. I was paid for my time an this review. All opinions expressed are my own and completely honest.

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Comments

  1. :) Natalia :) says:

    Dear Mr. Mike Smith congratulation for this new innovation..I think for one more idea about Mcdonalds.Its possible its new intresting :) Natalia :)

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