Somewhat out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to pop along to my local McDonalds restaurant to find out about some of the exciting changes that have been going on behind the scenes, and to make my own Big Mac. Yes, you really did read that right, to make my own Big Mac. 

Whilst that may have been the point at which I was sold on attending the event, the real focus of the evening was learning about all of the changes, beyond a lick of paint and some new seating, that McDonalds have been making.

Remember how you used to get to the front of the McDonalds queue, and there would be columns of pre-prepared burgers, all ready and waiting to be popped in the brown paper bags or on trays?

Remember how you used to order your food without one of the ingredients so you could ensure it came out hot?

And remember how you used to have to wait at the counter for your food, only to then have to rush around trying to find a suitable table after?

Well thanks to the changes made at McDonalds, this is all now a thing of the past. Not only have McDonalds introduced table service, touch-screen kiosks and designated seating zones, but all of the food is now also made to order, meaning that you can order a Big Mac without the gherkins, a Big Mac with the gherkins, or even order any burger without the bun, and they will all come out within the same length of time, freshly prepared and hot.

Streamlining the customer experience and giving the customer more choice seems to have been at the forefront of the McDonalds evolution; as soon as you step through the doors, that much is abundantly obvious.

Customers now have the choice to order at self-service kiosks instead of queuing at the counter, with the option to engage an accessibility mode to involve the whole family. If standing at the kiosk whilst you decide isn't your thing, you can also download the app, select what you want from the comfort of your home/car, and then just scan a QR code to generate the order (I haven't tested this out yet, but I've downloaded the app ready for my next visit...). Perfect for ordering for the entire family, or doing the office breakfast run. 

In addition to the free WIFI, McDonalds have installed a number of other features within the restaurant which are aimed not only at families and children, but also at the more professional customer.

For families, they have installed a 'Magic Table' where children can play games involving motion sensor technology once they've eaten, and iPads, also hosting a variety of games. I'm told that the iPads have proven to be a surprise hit with the adults too, giving them the option to browse through Facebook or scroll through the news whilst enjoying a morning coffee. The feature I was most surprised to see, however, and the one I would personally get most use out of, is the wireless charging points. My iPhone is always on the verge of dying, and I'm almost always looking for an excuse to grab a McDonalds, so it's a win win...

And finally, the food. I have to say, I was a little apprehensive about heading into the kitchen. Being such a huge fan of McDonalds, I didn't want to see anything that would jeopardise how I felt about eating there in future. I needn't have worried, as it turns out, because the kitchens and all of the little touches that McDonalds have installed to ensure your food is as fresh and hot as possible left me feeling very content. 

The counter tops where burgers are assembled are heated, ensuring that your food stays hot. The bottles of the famous Big Mac sauce dispense exactly the right amount of sauce every time, allowing staff to consistently create burgers using ingredients in perfect ratios. Each and every single burger patty can be traced back to the exact cow and farm the meat came from, ensuring that McDonalds are able to confirm that they are using 100% British beef. The meat is kept in colour coded trays to avoid cross-contamination. I'll leave it there, but I honestly could go on on... 

There really is an enormous amount of attention to detail, and I'd never even given it a second thought before.

Fun fact: it takes the average employee between 35-50 seconds to make a Big Mac. It took me over 3 minutes and I think it's safe to say that I won't be getting job in the kitchen any time soon. 

However, I will most definitely be returning to the Norwich Airport McDonalds as a customer. It's fresh, fun and full of innovation. In a nutshell, right up my street. 

If, in the unlikely event that you need a reason to head to #yournewMcDonalds, the Airport, Brundall and Tuckswood branches will be hosting charity fundraising days on 21 October 2017, with staff wearing fancy dress and face painting on offer. The day will raise money for RMHC, a fantastic charity who build homes away from home for families with children who are too ill to leave hospital. Before the event I didn't realise where the money raised went, but next time I drop a couple of coins in the fundraising boxes, I'll definitely be thinking about all the people the money continues to help on a daily basis. 

I'd like to say a huge thank you to McDonalds and Red Consultancy for inviting me along. If you want to see for yourself what it was like behind the scenes, I vlogged throughout the evening, so keep an eye on my YouTube channel for some of the footage I filmed. 


(This post has been written in collaboration with McDonalds, but all opinions remain my own.)


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