One of my first jobs was working as a crew member at a local McDonald’s restaurant, I was 16 years old and incredibly keen to start making my own money, I remember my first day and how exciting the whole experience of it was. In fact, looking back some 16 years later ( seriously ..where does the time go? ) it is probably the most fun I have had whilst working, there were a large group of crew members who I had just left school with and some of whom I was now attending college alongside. We worked together, socialised and made new friends along the way too.
I was recently invited to take an in-depth look at another local store and I immediately said yes, I was interested to see the changes and relive my teenage work experience!
It’s funny because the time at which I worked at McDonald’s was probably one of the only times in my life I wasn’t actually interested in cooking, I was interested in going out with my friends, buying new clothes and music but food was on the back burner for a short time. Now I would find it fascinating working around food all day I am sure and the day at McDonald’s was really interesting. We first met with Ron Mounsey who owns 16 stores in the local area, he talked us through the evolution of McD’s and explained some of the changes I have already seen in my local stores – yes I am a food blogger and yes I still eat McD’s, I don’t spend every day slaving over a hot stove and I am a sucker for a Big Mac as much as the rest of you are. My girls think McDonald’s is a big treat as I did when I was a child, they enjoy the play area and the free toys in the happy meals – it is also one of the few places I can grab something on the go for Chloe who has multiple allergies as she can enjoy a fruit bag and the fries.
There have been some dramatic improvements to the stores recently and the main changes in our area are:
Revolutionised kitchen design – with fast service and freshly prepared food
When I worked there back in 1999-2000 we prepared food in bulk ready for the influx of orders, burgers and nuggets would then be allowed to remain for 20 minutes before being discarded. This meant that there was often a lot of food waste and also if you had a burger towards the end of its allotted time then you had the potential for limp lettuce and slightly soggy buns. I am SO glad that McDonald’s have now addressed this. Did you know that every order is now made to order? The difference in quality is incredible. They have also changed the design of the kitchens and it really does run like a well oiled machine, it is so busy back there and constantly moving yet every member of staff knows exactly what they should be doing and it is like a second nature to them – so much so I couldn’t get an action shot of the burgers being made up as it was so quick!
Digital experience with self-service kiosks and tablets available to customers
The self service kiosks make life a lot easier on both the customers and staff, no more long winding queues around the restaurant. Customers can quickly and efficiently order their meals using a number of kiosks in the lobby of the restaurant. The benefits of this are also that you don’t rush your order at the till so you can take your time to browse the menus and the swap options available to you, I always choose this option where available. The iPads in store are great to occupy older children but also for people who want to work through their lunch or just browse for leisure. I enjoy the super fast wifi in store especially as the closest restaurant to us has a play area which means I can grab a coffee while the girls play and update my social media channels while they are busy having fun.
Ron Mounsey showing a fellow blogger how to use the kiosk:
My local McD’s has table service and this makes life so much easier when you have small children with you. It means I can order quickly at the kiosk and then grab a table, some crayons and the huge colouring sheets and relax with the girls while we wait for one of the lovely staff to bring our food to the table.
Choice – in the food you order and how you order it
The menu at McDonald’s continues to expand and there is more variety in what you can choose to have with your meal, for example perhaps you don’t want your child to have fries on every visit so you could swap it for carrot sticks or swap the fruit shoot for a bottle of water. Whilst at the store we learnt a lot about what goes into the food and I think some people would be shocked to know that all of the meat is 100% beef or chicken breast, the salad is fresh and the eggs are free range. You read some pretty horrifying articles online about what goes into some fast food options so it is really good to be assured of what you are eating.
All in all it was an interesting experience and at the end of the day we also got a chance to try out the Signature Collection burgers which launch in 40 stores in Wales today. There are three options, The Classic, The BBQ or The Spicy and the latter gets my vote for sure with jalapeños and pepper jack cheese, it has a real kick.
After our tour of the restaurant we got to work in the kitchen making our own Big Mac:
That Big Mac tasted pretty good let me tell you!
It was nice to see as well that after all these years and all of the changes that some things remain the same, the staff ( or crew as they are called ) work hard together and seem to have fun too, Ron Mounsey mentioned how much he likes to see how the staff become friends and stay friends years later. Everyone we met was friendly, helpful and happy – lots of pleasant memories from my time there resurfaced afterwards! It is far from the easy job as it can be seen by some, when it gets busy and it always does the staff don’t get a moment to stop yet the customer service doesn’t seem to falter. I will probably be calling in more often now.. my waistline may not like it but now that I have tried the Spiced Cookie Latte I think I may struggle to stay away!
Perhaps you haven’t visited McD’s in recent years, go see for yourself, you may be quite surprised.
- This post is in collaboration with McDonald’s and I was compensated for my time in attending this event. Thanks to Ron Mounsey, Lisa Rees- Operations Manager, Jayne James- Group Supervisor, Adam Phillips and Miles Jenkins ( shift managers ) for your time and looking after us so well.