Behind the scenes at McDonald's

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What’s new at your local McDonald’s

To me, McDonald’s is not just a restaurant serving tasty burgers, fries and milkshakes, it’s a place I’ve shared many memories. As a child, there would be birthday parties or family days out. Even now as an adult McDonald’s has been there for me when I’ve needed it most, especially in many scenarios while travelling. I don’t know what I would have done without McDonald’s when I was studying in China; I could always rely on good quality food, Wi-Fi, air con and toilets. Even at home whenever I’ve wanted to stick to a budget, grab something quick before my train or needed food during the early hours of the morning on route to somewhere, McDonald’s has been there.

Last year I was invited to go behind the scenes at McDonald’s in Coventry to experience first-hand the new technological changes to the McDonald’s service. Since then McDonald’s has evolved further, so they kindly invited me to the Temple Row, Birmingham restaurant to find out what’s new.

From McDonald’s Crew member to Franchisee

At the restaurant, I was greeted by the franchisee Dean Chapman. Dean owns four local McDonald’s restaurants including the one on New Street (where I can sometimes be found ordering large fries and a chocolate milkshake before running to my train). He has been working at McDonald’s since 1988, taking on a part-time crew member role to fund a school trip and has never looked back. Over the years his worked his way up the McDonald’s ladder and now impressively owns the four main city centre restaurants in Birmingham.

Meet Josh & Alisha

For a behind-the-scenes tour of McDonald’s I was joined by the lovely Josh and Alisha, who instantly made me feel welcome and part of the McDonald’s family at the Temple Row restaurant. They talked to me about their experiences and why working at McDonald’s is right for them before letting me loose in the kitchen to make my own veggie burger!

Josh is a part-time crew trainer who is currently at the same university as me. He has been working at the restaurant for two years because McDonald’s are happy to provide him with flexible hours around his studying. Alisha is a full-time shift Running Manager, who is quickly progressing in her career. McDonald’s invests £50m a year in its employees by giving every single one of them the opportunity to progress within the company such as training for management roles.

I really enjoyed my time with Josh and Alisha because I could see that they both evidently love their roles. They spoke about feeling part of the McDonald’s family, which is made up of individuals from all generations and life stages. It was inspiring to hear Alisha speak passionately about her career goals at McDonald’s and finding out how McDonald’s gave Josh his very first job straight out of college, helping him grow and gain confidence.

Making my own Spicy Vegetable Deluxe meal

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After checking out the impressively organised and clean freezer and stock room, it was time to throw on my McDonald’s uniform and begin my shift! My first task was to clean my hands, something that all staff do every 30 minutes. It was then time to make my favourite McDonald’s burger, the Spicy Vegetable Deluxe. Josh showed me effortlessly within a matter of seconds how to make the burger. I’m a millennial with a short attention span who is terrible in the kitchen, so it took me considerably longer to make, but it pretty much goes like this…

A toasted bun, a squiggle of sweet chilli sauce, a dollop of mayo, a handful of lettuce and three cucumbers topped with a veggie patty – and, there you go, a delicious fresh vegetarian burger!

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No burger meal is complete without McDonald’s irresistible fries, so I had a go at serving up my own...

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to go alongside my long-term love, a McDonald’s chocolate milkshake.

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After my very short but sweet first shift, I then got to dine with fellow customers and enjoy my veggie meal masterpiece.

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McDonald’s introduces table service

You may have already spotted the multiple techno-gadgets around your local McDonald’s, but if not, try it out next time you visit. New table service is perfect when you’re juggling shopping bags and kids while trying to hold on to your fries. Simply use the self-service kiosks to pick your meal - the screen allows you to make a more-informed choice as it tells you how many calories, fat and sugar content is in each item. You can now also personalise your meal at McDonald’s, so everything is fresh and made to order. For example, you can select if you want a meal without pickles or even without a bun. When completing the order, you then have the option to sit in the designated zone and wait for the food to come to you! While your waiting you can have a play around on the new tablets or use the restaurant’s free Wi-Fi.

For me, table service is perfect for those days you just don’t want to queue – we all know the feeling… when you just want to quickly sit, unload your shopping bags and rest. Especially at Christmas time when your overloaded with bags and your feet are hurting!

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McDonald’s Click and Collect app

Ordering food at McDonald’s has never been so easy. You can now order a Big Mac while you’re on the go with its Click and Collect app. Just choose your restaurant, input your order, and you have the option to claim a voucher and pay. The McDonald’s team will then create the order in time for your arrival, so its fresh, hot and ready to go. It uses your mobiles geolocation and a push notification so that it knows when you’re ready to collect.

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McDelivery at home

McDonald’s have teamed up with Uber Eats so that you can now order from the comfort of your own home. If only I knew about this a few weeks ago when I was living in pyjamas and drowning in academic books while trying to finish my masters major project - McDonald’s milkshake and veggie meal would have been the highlight of my day! If you live up to 1.5 miles away from a restaurant you can use this service in many locations nationwide.

McDonald’s cleaning up the city

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Besides from the tech stuff, Dean gave me a great insight into what my local McDonald’s is doing for the community. Did you know McDonald’s nationwide employ a litter picker to patrol the streets surrounding their restaurant? This is to remove any rubbish that has been discarded regardless of its branding, to clean up the local environment. The patrols across the UK equate to 3,000 miles a week and 150,000 miles a year!

In fact, for over 30 years McDonald’s has been committed to the Keep Britain Tidy initiative and often holds larger litter picking events.

McDonald’s supporting the community

To encourage children to get outdoors, be active and try out football for the first time McDonald’s has teamed up with UK Football Associations so that they can deliver 5 million hours’ worth of fun, coaching sessions and family events within local communities for over 500,000 children aged 5–11.

You most likely don’t see Ronald McDonald on a bench outside your local restaurant anymore… That’s because he’s running the Ronald McDonald House Charities. By providing free accommodation near specialist children’s hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House Charities ensure families can stay together when their child needs care.

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McDonald’s cutting down on waste

Now that customers can personalise their meals and everything is made fresh to order, McDonald’s has been able to reduce food waste. To further reduce wider waste, McDonald’s use only the minimum packaging and cardboard is collected from 95% of restaurants for recycling which has helped to remove 18,868 tonnes of cardboard per year from landfill. Most restaurants so far have also introduced paper straws. I was also impressed to hear that their used cooking oil is converted into biodiesel and now powers almost half of McDonald’s distribution fleet. If only more organisations were doing this! So next time your eating fries just think the vegetable oil used to cook them is helping to reduce co2 emissions.

It was great to go behind the scenes to find out how McDonald’s is taking care of the environment, the different ways they are improving the customer experience and learning first-hand from its employees how McDonald’s is investing in their careers. A big thank you to Dean, Josh & Alisha for welcoming me into the McDonald’s family at Temple Row.


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