This is a sponsored post in collaboration with McDonald’s, showcasing some of the new family-friendly features of their restaurant evolution.
I don’t often talk about food here on the blog, and here’s the reason why… half our family are fussy eaters! When you’ve got a child with a really limited diet finding somewhere for lunch can be a challenge. Luckily there’s one place I know we all enjoy, and that’s McDonald’s.
Earlier this month I had the chance to go behind the scenes at a local McDonald’s in Plymouth to find out more about the new changes, tech and kitchen design. Some of these changes you can see when you walk into the restaurant, like the new ordering kiosks, and others have transformed the way your food is cooked, assembled and even brought out to you.
P.s. there’s a video at the end!
Behind the scenes at McDonald’s
I love a good nosy behind the scenes of places, so to head into the kitchen and see what goes into it all from start to finish was a great experience. I knew it’d be fun to create our own Big Macs, but what I wasn’t expecting was to leave feeling so inspired by all the things the franchise owners and company do.
We were treated to a talk by franchisee Dave Wynne on the company’s history and future, as well as his own background and story, and an insight into his franchise and contributions to the local area. It was inspiring to hear how they support local youth football teams and how staff volunteer to take part in beach cleans and redecorating a children’s play area. It’s the sort of thing you don’t always think about when you pop into McDonald’s for lunch, but behind the good food and quick service there’s a business that’s big on community.
What’s new at McDonald’s
Once we’d heard from the team at McDonald’s we were invited on a tour around the restaurant to take a look at some of the new improvements.
First up was the digital ordering kiosks. We have these in my local restaurant and if I’m honest I hadn’t tried one before because I like to customise my order. Good news though as you can do just that. The kiosk features every menu item and you can order whatever you like, whether that’s a coffee and fries or meals for the whole family. You can customise it all too, so if you want your Big Mac with no pickles or cheese then you can order it without them. The kiosks are easy to understand and a good way of ordering if you want to beat the queues, have a complicated order or want to take your time before you choose. They’ve also been designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, with the option to bring all the content down into easy reach and with the card terminal featuring at the bottom of the kiosk.
Something that’s part of the new kiosks is the ability to choose table service. This is so useful for lots of people, especially if you’re ordering lunch with a young family. The Plymouth restaurant we visited is trialling a hi-tech version which features a tracking chip, telling the staff exactly where your table is – genius! It’s really easy to use and a great example of where investing in technology is helping to improve service and make things easier for us.
It never takes long to get your food, but keeping the kids entertained is easier now there are family-friendly tablets installed at some tables. There’s a choice of games for the kids (and big kids!) plus you can also browse the internet, check social media and find out more about McDonald’s too.
Whether you order at the counter or at the kiosk, one of the biggest changes you’ll notice is the new order and collect system. Instead of a line of counters to order and wait for your food at, you now have one area to order and another to the side where you wait to collect your food. This helps keep lines down, gives you more space to wait and helps things run more efficiently. I’ve found this works really well and is a big improvement on the old system, especially if you’re waiting with a pushchair or kids.
It’s your choice
Choice is something that’s a key part of the new McDonald’s experience. You can choose where you order (at the counter or using a kiosk) and what you order (want no lettuce? no problem!). You can even choose table service, where someone will bring your order out to your table. And there’s a good choice of where to sit too, from booths to bar stools to benches with tablets where you can entertain yourself and the kids.
Something I found really interesting was that since introducing the kiosks in the Plymouth restaurant they’ve noticed more people choosing salad instead of fries, thanks to the increased visibility of all the different choices you can make.
One of the biggest is a revolutionised kitchen design. Heading behind the scenes into the kitchen, you can see that it’s been well designed. Orders appear on a screen and are fed through to the kitchen teams, who work efficiently but with care to assemble them. Everything’s just where it needs to be to put together orders quickly.
Whether you’re ordering something as it comes or customised all the way, your food’s freshly made. It’s not sat in a warmed area waiting for you to order it – it’s all assembled with fresh ingredients as you order. Not only do these changes mean the food tastes its best because it’s fresher, it means less food is wasted.
And in case you’re wondering… they really do use fresh, actual eggs!
The new improvements in technology make McDonald’s even more family-friendly. No more queueing with kids in hand to order or juggling a tray of food with a pushchair, and the tablets are a great source of entertainment (for the kids and us parents too). And as a parent to a fussy eater, the option to let Oscar choose his own order in his own time, with the help of pictures, at the kiosk is a huge plus. He really enjoys it and I’m not holding up a queue of hungry people while he changes his mind – win/win!
It was already our go-to place for lunch when out with the kids (especially if I’m travelling solo!), but the new kiosks and table service make it even more attractive. It’s good to know you’re supporting a company that’s investing in the local community too.
Watch the video
Take a look behind the scenes at the new kiosks, kitchen and watch me make a Big Mac :)
Has your local McDonald’s introduced the new features? What do you think of them?
I was invited to attend a blogger event and to tell you guys about the improvements as part of #YourNewMcDonalds#YourNewMcDonalds but all words and thoughts are my own. Huge thanks to the teams at McDonald’s and Red Consultancy for the experience and for working with me on this collaboration. P.s. my three year old loves the hat!