McDonald’s is a name familiar to us all. You may not know this but I used to work for the brand in 1998! That makes me feel very, very old. When McDonald’s Ireland reached out and invited me in store to see their new technological additions, I jumped at the chance. Firstly, I am a regular customer and secondly, I was eager to see what had changed since my time there almost 20 years ago. The Winthrop Street restaurant has recently undergone a complete makeover and it is amazing!! I was seriously impressed and I think you will be too.
On First Impressions….
Let me start by saying that the decor is unlike the McDonald’s you might remember. I will forgive you for thinking you stumbled into the latest trendy, newly opened restaurant. White tiled walls with accents of black and yellow make it very Instagrammable! Brand related art work hangs on the walls. It is bright and clean with lots of space. Entry to the changing room and disabled toilets have been reconfigured to provide extra space. The new restaurant is very accessible for everyone.
Behind The McDonald’s Winthrop Street Franchise…
Is a man called John Blake. I met with him and two of his experienced managers on my visit to the restaurant. Team focused, flexible and encouraging. Both managers, Olwen and Casey had very happy work experiences to share with me. Twenty years later, I was able to relay my own positive memories as an employee. Staff retention is high as is job satisfaction. John struck me as a man who really believed in his brand. He wanted to drive money back into the business to improve the whole staff and customer experience. With the new innovations I will share with you, I think he has achieved this.
A Streamlined Customer Experience
The new McDonald’s Winthrop Street customer experience begins as soon as you walk through the doors. Immediately you notice how calm it now feels. Gone are the long queues in front of several tills and in their place are self-service kiosks. An employee awaits to assist you with the kiosks if you are new to them, so there is no need to fear the new technology. To be honest, they are very self-explanatory and easy to navigate. I have a family of fussy eaters so I find it stressful to order all of the specific requests. With the kiosks you can customise so much, right down to asking them to go ‘light’ on the onions!
As you are completing your order at the kiosk, the staff are in the kitchen making each item to order. This way you are guaranteed the freshest of food to your table. Oh yes, did I mention the table service? You can now have your food delivered right to your table. It has to be seen to be believed but the staff can find you anywhere in the restaurant with the new technology. You just order, pay and take a seat!! How many of us have juggled bags, buggies and children while balancing trays AND search for a seat? No more. The new McDonald’s Winthrop Street restaurant has completely streamlined its customer experience.
To ease any fears you have about loss of staff to these kiosks, I can assure you staffing has increased. They are now free to be on the floor, with you the customer, ensuring your experience is positive. In addition to all of this, you will find charging points and Samsung Galaxy tablets to keep any mini companions entertained.
They Challenged, I Accepted…
On the morning, I was challenged to make my own Big Mac. Now, I was once a dab hand at this and I could almost remember the steps. With my apron, hair net, hat and a little help I managed to complete my challenge. Again, with the new technology I noticed a huge difference to the kitchen I remember. It was so much calmer and quieter. Orders appear on a screen so there is no shouting or frantic checking if you heard the special orders correctly. Both John and Managers Olwen and Casey said that staff loved working in a calmer environment. It again came back to that teamwork and family like atmosphere they strive to give employees.
My Big Takeaway…
The thing that struck me the most was how many of you might feel that McDonald’s Ireland is just another faceless, corporate company solely focused on profit. How wrong you would be. The Cork franchise is owned by a local man, employing local people, serving Irish sourced beef to local residents. Yes it is a global brand but it is very much a local business.
All of the beef is Irish, grass fed meat. In fact, one in every five McDonald’s burgers served across Europe is Irish. Think about how much that contributes to the local economy. I was mostly impressed by John and his vision for his business. He has put €1.4 million into the improvements and it has all been done to ensure that his customers receive the best. John is there on the floor, helping out during busy days, working hard to make his business the best it can be.
The menu is varied and there is something for everyone. A number of dietary requirements are catered for and all of the nutritional values are available. You can make the best choice suitable for you including swapping fries for fruit bags, opting for a salad or wrap. I have the belief that all food can be enjoyed in moderation and at McDonald’s there is something for everyone. Familiarity brings comfort and now you can experience that in the new improved McDonald’s Winthrop Street.
*** This post was written in collaboration with McDonald’s Ireland as sponsored content ***