I love burgers so much I’ve been known to interrupt a night out to stop and eat one (before then carrying on with my evening). So when I was invited on a behind-the-scenes visit to McDonald’s in St Andrew’s Quay in Hull as part of the #YourNewMcDonalds campaign, I jumped at the chance!
McDonalds’ burgers are my fave, so I was excited to learn a little more about the preparation, but before I got to roll up my sleeves and get in the kitchen, I noticed something a little different…
#YourNewMcDonalds in-store updates
McDonald’s is ready for the digital world! Until I visited this branch of the fast food franchise, it hadn’t actually occurred to me how little had changed in dining over the last 10-15 years. It was only when faced with a very digital eating experience, I noticed how far behind everywhere else was!
The most striking difference I noticed upon entry was the short row of large touch screens.
These screens allow you to place your order (and even pay) to help streamline waiting times at the tills. I hate waiting in queues and dealing with the uncertainty of where to stand. These screens also eliminate the rare (but embarrassing) panic order: a phenomenon that comes about when you’re looking at the menu but the server thinks you’re in the queue so you have to order because everyone is looking.
The self service kiosks are brilliant because you can tailor your meal to your exact needs without worrying that you’ll be judged for your requests. This means no more picking gherkins out of your burger.
Going gluten-free? No problem – you can order your burger without the bun and bring your own special bread (or give it a miss altogether if you’re taking the Atkins route).
Psst! Between you and me, I heard whispers of an app being developed, but keep it on the down-low!
#YourNewMcDonalds Easier Dining
The self-service kiosks are obviously a godsend, but a feature that makes life even easier is the table service.
Yep. You read that right. Table service. This means, if you’re loaded up with children and shopping bags, you don’t have to desert your children or belongings in order to wait for your food. Just order, pay, pick a seat and tell the self-service kiosk where that will be.
Perfect for both parents and introverts alike!
#YourNewMcDonalds Technology for Customer Use
Anyone with a smartphone knows how frustrating a dead battery can be (and how quickly they drain these days). Luckily McDonald’s are one step ahead and have universal charging points.
This means you have no need to rush off after your meal. In fact, it probably means you have time to stay for a McFlurry.
Another fab feature are the tablets for the customers. My kids would love this! There’s a games screen, a McDonald’s food screen, a social media screen (my preferred screen), travel & shopping and news & weather screens too. More than enough to keep anyone entertained!
The most prominent vibe I got from the restaurant was how keen they were to include everyone. The self serve screens were wheelchair friendly, the table service option will make so many people’s dining experiences easier, and food customisation means everyone can get anything they want. It’s just so welcoming!
You’re probably ready for a glimpse behind the scenes now, right?
The kitchen was really interesting because it was nothing like how I expected. I expected it to be busy (which it was), but in a manic sort of a way (which it wasn’t). Everyone knew where they should be. Everyone was working but no one was rushing. It was surprisingly chilled.
This grill is amazing. It’s automatic and has a sensor so that you don’t have to tell it how long to cook for.
Each burger patty has a certain height and the grill knows exactly what it’s cooking, just by the height of it. Magic!
I found something really appealing about the layout of these boxes. It feels like some sort of modern wall art. Just to the left of this is a big diagram of what goes in each burger, but I’ve already let slip about the app so couldn’t possibly give away any more trade secrets.
I Made My Own Big Mac!
A real member of kitchen staff showed me how to make a Big Mac just like her. I did what she said and I’m pretty sure I nailed it. It looked the part:
I can confirm it tasted totally professional too!
#YourNewMcDonalds Signature Burger
I was also lucky enough to be introduced to a new fixture on the menu – the Signature Burger!
Look at it, it’s basically art! They don’t do it in the restaurants near me yet which is so sad because since I tried it for the first time last week, it’s all I can think about!
It comes in three flavours: original, BBQ and spicy and it’s the thickest of all the patties on offer. They all sounded fab but I went for the original because I’m a purist like that.
The meat was succulent but not greasy, it was seasoned with salt and pepper, but tasted more complex than that, and the bacon, cheese and trimmings all complemented the delicious beef on offer.
I was chatting to the franchise owner and he explained all the beef McDonald’s use in their products is 100% British and Irish. He went on to explain the restaurant chain knows the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’. All food is consumed by the ‘best before’ date but because the franchise is mindful of its carbon footprint, it tends to be consumed well before it reaches that date. An automatic ordering system ensures no surplus is ordered, which in turn reduces waste. Amazing right? The franchise owner certainly knew his stuff, but then again, he does have 16 restaurants, so it’s no surprise really!
I had a fantastic time exploring how McDonald’s has introduced the future of dining to the fast food industry. Now I have to figure out if it’s acceptable to go all the way to Hull for another Signature Burger.
Well, I do love Hull.