Behind the scenes at Swansea McDonald’s
I was invited to a behind the scenes visit at McDonalds, Swansea (Oxford St) Restaurant, along with an unorganised mess and munchies and munchkins to see what we thought of the recent changes. We were greeted by the friendly, relaxed Franchisee Ron Mounsey, running 15 franchises would make most people more than a little frazzled, but not Mr Mounsey, his passion for providing a first class dining experience shone through.
Changes in the ordering process
I was extremely surprised at the changes in the restaurant, the last time I visited a few years ago, it was a little tired looking with no particular outstanding attributes, but the minute I walked through the door I could see a the transformation, the new vibrant young theme flowing throughout the restaurant jumped out. After we met the driving force behind the changes, Mr Mounsey, he took us on a tour, I was pleasantly surprised at the new face of McDonald’s.
I Pads are available for the customers to use, these will be amazing for us, as we have one very fast eater, who likes to move along as soon as he has finished, he will now be kept occupied while the slower eaters relax and enjoy their food.
The next amazing change was the self service points, where you can order, customise and pay for your meals, in a more relaxed personal manner. How many of us have visited a McDonalds restaurant at peak time, your trying to decide what to eat, with indecisive children causing chaos, while somebody in the line behind tuts, and the poor cashier looks stressed to the max? you end up walking away with an incomplete order, and you definitely do not want to go back up and do it all again for a second coffee or a dessert. This amazing piece of technology can alleviate all those issues.
You can design your meal, exactly as you want it, you can choose the straight forward meal options or easily customise the options, the children can see on the screen the options for their happy meals and just touch the screen to add to the order, no more shouting “fries or carrot sticks, water or fruit shoot” to a distracted indecisive child, and if they change their mind you can easily change the order, so you don’t have to feel bad for harassing the busy server with continual order changes. You pay for your order at the machine, so you can sit and relax while the children colour or use the I pads, while you wait a few minutes for your number to come up on the screen, instead of standing in the queue, trying to keep your eye n the wandering children, and if you want dessert or extra coffee, you don’t have to join the queue again. Genius idea, especially for families with children, or people with mobility issues.
Changes in the food preparation
The new process in the way food is cooked and served is definitely a change for the better, which keeps the pressure off the staff, while ensuring customers are served in a stress free enviroment, and receive a freshly prepared meal. The cashiers no longer have to rush about gathering the food while the more miserable members of the line glare at them, they now simply take the order and payment. Taking the pressure off the cashiers allows them to be sufficiently relaxed to ensure they provide excellent customer service.
When the order is placed, either through the self service points or the cashier the food is then prepared specifically for that customer, hence a freshly cooked meal every time, served at the correct temperature. Gone are the days where your burger has been sitting on the shelf and tastes a little unloved. I assumed the new way of cooking to order would impact on the time you have to wait, but the process in the cooking area has also changed, it has become sleek, with each person having a specific role, enabling the food to come out fast and fresh. The new layout behind the counter has been designed with time management in mind, so everything you need for a specific task is in one place, such as the drinks station.
The fridges and freezers are spotlessly clean and organised, set at the optimum temperature for food safety
The whole process is designed to enhance the customer experience and ensure food is served at the perfect temperature, the bread and salad is brought up to room temperature before serving.
As the orders come through on the screen the line then moves swiftly, and although my first impression was, that there seems to be too many people in a small area, when they started filling the orders I could see why they all needed to be there, and the process is such, that nobody gets in anyone else’s way, it all moves along really swiftly and smoothly.
We were invited to make our own Big Macs, the boys made it look so easy, but mine ended up a little lop sided, luckily it was just for me, as I don’t think it would have made it through the restaurants quality control.
Tasted pretty good though 🙂
New Product Range
When we arrived at the restaurant we were promised a surprise at the end of the tour, and wow what a yummy surprise it was. We were introduced to the new Signature Collection, created by McDonald’s food developers and the prestigious Chefs Council. The council is a team of chefs with a wide range of experience from Michelin starred restaurants to cooking for international royalty. This range of premium burgers is available in three great flavours – The Classic, The BBQ and The Spicy each served in a brioche-style bun.
The Signature Collection is served in new stylish black packaging, with fries served in matching fry cartons with every Signature order. The collection includes:
- The Classic: 100% British and Irish beef patty, two rashers of Beechwood smoked bacon, a slice of natural cheddar cheese, wholegrain mustard mayo, ketchup, Batavia lettuce and red onion in a Brioche-style bun
- The BBQ: 100% British and Irish beef patty, smoky BBQ sauce, coleslaw, red onion, Batavia lettuce, Beechwood smoked bacon and a slice of natural cheddar cheese in a Brioche-style bun
- The Spicy: 100% British and Irish beef patty, Jalapeño slices, Pepper Jack cheese, Batavia lettuce, mayo and a spicy relish in a Brioche-style bun
They were all absolutely delicious, more like one of the seasonal ranges you get from MacDonald’s, but they are here to stay, which is great news, after visiting a few “upmarket” rivals I have decided that none of them compare to McDonald’s, on price or flavour, so am happy to see this amazing new range, which will satisfy my teens taste, and my pocket 🙂
Waste and Recycling
I love the fact that McDonald’s uses 100% beef in their burgers, and chicken breast in the nuggets, and learning of their environmental policies makes me an even bigger fan:
All restaurants have processes in place to reduce the amount of food wasted, by way of efficient stock control, ordering and production systems. they are continually looking to reduce the amount of material used in packaging. For example, reducing the size of tray liners and resizing Big Mac® boxes, resulted in a saving of approximately 434 tonnes of paper each year.
They recycle most of the waste from restaurant kitchens including plastic and paper packaging, used cooking oil, corrugated cardboard and food waste. The used cooking oil is recycled into bio diesel, which is used to help fuel the delivery fleet, saving over 7,500 tonnes of CO2 each year.
The used cooking oil, cardboard and kitchen food waste is collected by the vehicles that have delivered food and packaging to the restaurants. Using the delivery trucks in this way saves an additional 5,000 trips per year.
Customers will soon be able to use new recycling units to separate paper cups and plastic for recycling. This initiative will be in place in Scottish restaurants by the end of 2016, and in restaurants across the UK by the end of 2018. Tehy are working with a specialist recycler for paper cups, who will be able to recycle the paper into new products and as a result prevent additional trees from being chopped down.
It was refreshing to see the recycling bin in the restaurant, since I starting recycling several years ago, I always feel bad when I put all my waste in the same bin, so now I can enjoy the new dining experience and not have to feel guilty about the waste.
I was really impressed with the changes in the restaurant, you could also see the difference the changes made to the staff, they all seemed more relaxed and committed to good customer service. It was nice to see a loved and trusted brand, keeping up with the changing times and trends while still keeping customer satisfaction as the main focus. I am looking forward to the arrival of table service in our area, which will make the entire McDonalds experience so much easier, especially for parents.
Well done Mr Mounsey and all the staff, I was very impressed by your immaculate restaurant and the level of efficiency and customer service 🙂