Last week was one of my busiest weeks for Mrs Mummypenny with A LOT of writing done and A LOT of travelling to events. I am certainly not moaning as I think I have possibly the best job in the world, I get to talk to people (one of my favourite past-times), learn about people’s lives, am constantly inspired, learn about brands and their values and I get to make Big Macs.
Yes, you heard me right, I ACTUALLY made a big mac. So last week on child free Tuesday (thanks Nik Nik) I drove down the seaside to Fratton in Portsmouth. I was excited to see the sea as I am from Penzance and was also very excited to discover the McDonald’s I was due to visit was right next door to Portsmouth Football ground. I am such a football mum.
I got there nice and early, and had a chance to sit in a café and sip a Peppermint tea and relax for a bit with a good book. Peeps reading this with children, when do you ever get the chance to sit for 1 whole hour and chill with a book??
So McDonald’s, a few super facts, (I am a numbers freak), there are 12o0 restaurants in the UK with around 50% of them being franchise owned with investment from small business people in the UK. McDonald’s employs 85,000 people in the UK. As well as being a numbers freak I know a lot about franchise businesses as I was the commercial manager for the EE franchise roll out in my last corporate role. So I was a little excited that the franchise owner Grant was there to meet me. He owns 17 McDonald’s in the Portsmouth and surrounding areas, and he employs 1500 staff! That is one massive operation.
We were given a tour of the restaurant, given an apron, hat and badge;-) (I know it suits me!) and were shown all the new technology in the store. Here are my favourite things
- Self-service touch screens to order and pay. I love these because you can customise to your hearts content. Great for me with kids who just want a plain burger.
- A prompt that fries can be swopped for carrot sticks/salad/fruit. Although my children given the choice in a subsequent visit to McDonald’s still chose fries.
- No waiting around, you just choose a zone that you’re going to sit in, pop the receipt on the table and wait for the food to arrive.
- The food is now cooked to order. I was super impressed with the production line in the kitchen. The order appears on the screen and the guys prepare everything from fresh.
- There are free tablets to use for everyone (for the kids) with all the social media and games one could ask for.
- There are plugs for you to charge your phone or in some restaurants, like my local Stevenage on there are contactless chargers.
- The technology in the kitchen to control cooking times and to minimise waste were amazing.
After the tour we got to watch a demo of a big mac being made, and then I got to make one. Loved this. Was a little stressful as Grant told me I had to make it in 50 seconds, the normal standard for the staff. I obviously failed, but I did it correctly and afterwards we got to eat it and it tasted good! I also earned a star for the quality of my burger;-)
After the tour we all sat down for a chat, the area manager joined us, along with a few guys from McDonald’s and Red the PR agency. Along with us 3 bloggers. We talked about everything from what it’s like to work for McDonald’s, the renowned management training program from the company to the rise of the blogger and the importance of Instagram and Snapchat! I have also discovered 2 of the ultimate Disney experts, super useful for when we eventually go.
And the McDonald’s coffee is good, dare I say it, but better than Costa…….
I just want to address the views that some mummies in particular have on McDonalds. Those who would never be seen there with the children. Relax..you can get healthy alternatives there and its a bit of fun every once in a while. If its a treat once a month that’s fine or a Saturday afternoon surprise that’s fine. I would not recommend to eat there every day..but also I would not recommend to give your children healthy food every day with no treats. Life is about balance.
For more information on McDonald’s take a look here http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/whatmakesmcdonalds.html
This post was a collaboration between Mrs Mummypenny and McDonald’s.