Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fast food is brought into the 21st century.

Fast food use to be stand in a queue, place your order and wait until they serve pre cooked food that was being kept warm. This obviously impacts on the temperature and the quality of the food. But fast food shoppers have evolved not only their wants, needs and tastes but their expectations on a standard they will accept.  There is so much out there to choose from to an ever growing market and the customers are becoming much more discerning.

Erica and franchise owner Jim.

So when I was invited along with fellow blogger Erica from Foodinburgh to one of the newer
McDonald's stores, the newish one in Silverburn Glasgow to find out about how and why McDonald's restaurant are evolving I thought it would be interesting to go and so accepted the offer. It is a few years since I have been in one of their restaurants, we used them fairly regularly with the three younger children, and have on occasion used them with the grandchildren but not for a few years now.

behind the scenes in the kitchen

We got a behind the scenes look in the kitchen and learned about the correct weights for the addition of items like lettuce and onions.
We saw the boxes neatly hung and easy to reach, they even have diagrams for the correct assembly of each of their burgers. We were shown in what order burgers are added to the hot plate depending on how many you are cooking at the time, this is so they are removed in the same order as they are added to make sure each is cooked to perfection.

Last time I bought a Big Mac they still used the system of the burgers being made up before hand and remade to replenish the used one as they went. Now all their food is made up fresh as you order. As soon as your order is placed it shows on a digital screen above your collection point, which is now a different counter than you order at. Once you order is ready your order number shows green and you know it is time to collect it.

the screen keeps you updated. 

We got a behind the scenes look at the kitchen, and even got to make a Big Mac to see how it is done. Did you know the big mac bun has names for each of the three pieces? A crown for the top, a heel for the bottom and a club for the middle, and that the sauce goes on the heel, and the club must go the right way up when assembled?
We got a chance to assemble a Big Mac for ourselves. When the shop is busy the staff get thirty five seconds to make one, but when quieter they get fifty seconds.

So how has it changed since I was last in? The new stores are now being built with digital kiosks so you can order without standing in a queue. I know I often use to feel pressured when you got to the front of the queue to order something quickly rather than taking the time to think. McDonald's offer a much larger range now apart from their traditional beef buns, they offer chicken, fish, pork, vegetarian, wraps, salads and breakfast. You can add a desert to that with the traditional McFlurry, ice-cream cones, apple pies, doughnuts, muffins, fruit and milkshakes. No longer do you need to drink soft drinks they do a wide range of coffee from latte to espresso to cappuccino, why not have it toffee flavoured or a cup of tea? So to be able to use a kiosk and take your time, personalising your order to suit rather than having to pick out the pickles or scrap off the sauce because you don't like them. A much easier way to spend time looking at what is on offer.
Currently 16% of Silverburn's customers use the kiosks, up from 13% when they first opened.

They have been brought right up to date and even have i-pads available on one of the tables. You can log in with your own account details and use your Facebook, twitter etc, shop on e-bay and play games. I have to say being the generation I am I do not allow phones etc at the table in my house, but my daughter does and I know it is a big part of most people's lives even when eating out. Nice to see them moving with the times.

various apps available

I also noticed that their are various bins to place your rubbish to segregate for recycling it rather than pouring it into one bin as previously, I was also happy to see a slop sink to pour an left over juice down, much better idea as I use to hate putting left over juice in the black bin.

 McDonald's have been working with a focus group to find out why people eat out, these fall into three main categories - a) a quick fix, b) a comfort eat and c)guilty pleasure. Most of their available range tends to fall into the first two categories of people, and so they wanted to evolve to cover the third category as well.

With this in mind they have introduced a new range of burgers that they are calling The Signature Collection. These are currently being trialled in sixty one restaurants up and down the country.

the new collection showing behind the order counter

This burger is designed to be more filling, but not quite as "fast" food as their other foods. The meat in a Big Mac is seven mm thick and takes forty seconds to cook, a quarter pounder is twelve mm thick and these new Signature ones are twenty mm and take five and a half minutes to cook. 

These currently come in three flavours, Classic, BBQ and Spicy and are served in a brioche bun. They are also looking to introduce Rich and Creamy, this will have soft cheese and blue cheese in. These are the first buns where the company are putting the sauce on the crown of the bun instead of the heel. 

Due to my time restraints last week we did not have time to order or try out the digital kiosks or the new Signature Collection but we decided to go back on Saturday and try out both, well I had to have an excuse to try them.

So what did we think?  The system was easy to use, it comes in various languages for people that do not speak English, The company thought this was important as in France it is only available in French and may well encourage more people in. The screens take you through the ordering step by step and allowed me to ask for no ice in my drink. Your order goes in numerical order with any counter orders ready for collection.

I tried the BBQ and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was firm, filling, tasty and certainly more sustaining than the normal burgers. The only downside for me was the fact as you bit into it the filling slipped and the sauce ended up round your face. We felt they were difficult to eat politely and with any sort of dignity. Not the sort of thing you order if out for a first date!! If there had been a knife available I would have cut it in half. These are not much more expensive than the normal range, and at just over £6 for your meal I thought good value for money.

the new BBQ Signature burger

In conclusion it is great to see the introduction of new technology designed to make life easier for the customer combined with the exciting new range of burgers still makes for the enjoyable experience we all have come to expect from a visit to McDonald's, I highly recommend that you pop along and try the experience for yourselves, you wont be disappointed.

This is a sponsored post.


  1. I love that you were invited to McDs to test their new stores - I think their new stores are fantastic! It feels much more of a nicer eating out experience nowadays

  2. I think their new stores are much better, admittedly we hardly use them now though.

  3. Sauce around your face is never a good look when out, at home I usually reach for a knife and fork with big burgers!

  4. I haven't been to McDonalds in about three years. They closed the one in our town centre so it's not as convenient as it used to be. The new stores sound interesting.

  5. Woweeee! We've got a new Mcdonalds in Southampton too, where you order at a terminal, take a ticket number and wait. We still like the face2face aspect. No too sure about the tablets and apps in stores either!

  6. Ive been behind the scenes at McDonalds and it is truly fascinating x

  7. Looks great, but, it wouldn't encourage me to go in. I only ever use McDonald's if I need something really fast, can eat it in the car and it's cheap.

  8. Great post. I haven't stepped foot in the door of a golden arches for about 15 years now and although I can see many changes from your post non of them would entice me back.
    As for the technology at tables - a big no from me too. I don't have children but meal times are precious and to catch up on everyones day and actually talk to one another!

  9. Our local one has been all decked out with all the latest gear. It seems to take longer though :0(

  10. I can't even walk into one of these places. Not sure what the food is like nowadays but it has always been appalling quality and such high calories for very little nutritional benefit.

  11. Wow what a snazzy McDonalds that is. Love it! What a treat to go behind the scenes - I would've liked this event! The new self service kiosks look fab too and the new choices sound pretty good x

  12. They are really updating to be more user friendly and certainly more tasty. I'd love to see behind the scenes I didn't realise that had things like that back there. We've been into a newer one with the tablets on the tables and freshly prepared burgers, we only had a tea in there but it was fun. Our local which is quite a way since we live in a village, is having a refurbishment. We kept asking why they were changing it but I guess they are doing this. I look forward to having a try one eve. It's nice that mcds are moving with the times


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