I recently visited the McDonald’s on Clifton Lane, Nottingham, to see how they are changing the structure of their restaurants to allow for a more relaxed but still fast food dining experience. The main emphasis that I noticed from my visit was on providing table service. This is available as you can order and browse the full menu via what I would call a ‘giant tablet’ that can even alter the language and dimensions of the screen to suit disabled users. This ordering system seemed to work well and effortlessly showed on the extensive nature of the menu, as it came up with the options of carrot sticks when looking through fries and bottles of water or orange juice when selecting drinks. Further to this, I liked the way it was more versatile and offers the consumer more power as you can add / remove salt to your fries, choose whether you would like ice in your drink and even state which items you would like on your burger, such as no pickles etc. The added advantage to ordering this way is that they make your food to order which makes it more personal and fresh as well as stopping the food becoming slightly cold or stale as has happened in the past. The machines also allow for the use of discount vouchers such as ‘£1.99 Big Mac and medium fries’ through the use of a scanner, with plans of using a student card at the machine in the future too. The only downside to ordering in this way is that you have to pay by card.
When placing your order you will select the zone in which you are going to sit and once your order is placed at the machine and you have paid by card, you will be given a receipt and then your order will be brought over to your table when it is ready, along with any condiments needed and straws etc. Although the food is prepared to order and takes longer this way it cuts the hassle of having to queue and find a table once you have your food, therefore making it more relaxing. They also have further customisation options planned for the future. However, they are still exploring this and how to calculate the calorie count for the different options. They have introduced tables with tablets that allow access to Twitter and emails etc, thus allowing busy commuters to catch up on their work whilst having a coffee or grabbing a quick breakfast.
The set-up of the venue also encourages a more pro-active stance to recycling as the old cooking oil is recycled by a lorry that converts it into fuel for the Lorries. Along with all cardboard items that are recycled and bins that encourage diners to recycle more of their waste. In the kitchens everything was very well organised and clean. The layout of the kitchen allowed for the food to be prepared quickly. The grills where the standard beef burgers are cooked are locked for 42 seconds to allow them to cook perfectly every time and are then sprinkled with salt and pepper before being moved to the assembly area where they are placed for use on their burgers. I was allowed to prepare and make my own Big Mac which was a really good experience and enabled me to see how this staple of the menu was constructed.
I had a Big Mac, fries and Coke, the food came warm and in a good time as you would expect from a fast food outlet and whilst not a fine dining experience I feel that it certainly has its place for those times when you are after something in a hurry and in my personal opinion is probably healthier than many other fast food options such as a kebab or fried chicken etc. The taste was good and had that distinctive ‘McDonald’s taste’ with the iconic Big Mac sauce which is one of their best points. With fresh salad that adds freshness, crunch and further flavour to their food. They are also a good place to grab a quick coffee as their new machines offer a wide range of coffees and they now sell more coffee than any other outlet.
For more information check out the McDonald’s UK website http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome.html or follow them on Twitter @https://twitter.com/McDonaldsUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor