Innovation may not particularly be a word associated with McDonalds, however, their technological innovation in store, is something to be marvelled at compared to their competitors.
I was invited to find out more at my local McDonalds in St Anne’s Square in Manchester. McDonalds for me is one of the ultimate cheat/naughty vices. I love going with my Mum and Nanna, and findly remember the days when as a kid my brother and I got to go on our weekly shopping trips to Scunthorpe. Back then, my Nanna would always, without fail have a Doughnut and a coffee, and my brother and I would expand our McDonald toy collection with the latest Happy Meal. Years on, the menu still remains fairly similar, however, you may have noticed the stores themselves not so much!
Digital innovation is completely taking over, the stores are bringing in digital technology into all areas of the restaurant. As soon as I walked in there was an area filled with IPad which are there, pre-loaded with apps to allow customers to log on and check their social media accounts. As you walk to the store to the counter, you are greeted by a member of staff who encourages you to try the new digital kiosk ordering system. Designed like huge iPad the virtual counter allows you to choose and buy your meal. Giving you time to scroll through all the options, it’s the first time I feel like I’ve really studied what’s on offer, and the choice is huge! For example, I didn’t particularly realise that instead of fries you could have a salad as a side. From speaking to the manager there, she mentioned that since the system has been in place, sales of salads in that store are up week on week, perhaps backing up my feeling that until you have the chance to engage with the menu up front no one really knows what is on there.
The greatest thing for me is the fact you can customise your burger. Fancy having bacon on it? Don’t want any salt on your fries? No problem. Suddenly the digital kiosk becomes like a virtual gourmet diner. Of course, the option to use the counter hasn’t gone away for those who want it. I really enjoy using the kiosk and to me, it makes the ordering process much more engaging.
Once I had the chance to take a look at the digital kiosks, it was now my chance to go behind the scenes and see how the kitchen was run and make my own burger. I felt very honoured having the opportunity. I was taken into the staff room and shown how staff are able to complete training to further their careers and got myself kitted up with the latest uniform. Designed to look like denim they are a far cry from some of the earlier uniforms and match the cool new innovation going on in the restaurant.
At university, I used to work as a waitress in a hotel and therefore am familiar with large scale kitchens, however, the main thing which struck me about this kitchen was the efficiency. Everything was timed and worked to the dot.
The first thing I learnt was how to toast the signature Big Mac bun. It’s in 3 parts and has a special toaster that takes 17 seconds to toast, the bun has 3 parts the crown (top) the club (middle) and the heel (bottom).
You then put the bun in the box and squirt in the special McDonalds burger sauce, a pinch of onions are added to the club and the heel and three pickles are added. Only three on each part so that every bit of the burger means you get a taste. A pinch of lettuce is added along with a slice of cheese. On the other side of the wall, the burgers are been cooked, each one takes 42 seconds. All the meat is served within 15 minutes of cooking so it’s always hot and fresh. The burgers go on the bun and voila, that’s it one Big Mac.
I was really impressed with the quality of the ingredients too, the burgers really are 100% beef. The only thing added is a very small pinch of salt and pepper at the cooking stage.
If you’d like to find out any more about what makes McDonalds, just click here.
This is a sponsored post in partnership with McDonalds, however, all words are my own