Huyton Page Moss McDonald's, Liverpool Road, Huyton Knowsley, Liverpool, L36 3YB
As I mentioned on my blog last night, yesterday I got the chance to attend the Huyton Page Moss McDonald's to be shown some of the new changes to McDonald's, as well as make my very own Big Mac!
Firstly we all sat down with Mark, the franchisee that owns Huyton Page Moss McDonald's plus 4 others across Liverpool. He talked to us about the changes that have recently happened in McDonald's, including their digital transformation and a new project called "Experience of the Future".
You may have noticed that most McDonald's restaurants now have self-service kiosk screens that you can use to order your food on, instead of going up to the counter. The screen allows you to look through all of the menu options, giving you more time to browse than when you used to have to order at the counter. Most of the menu items are also fully customisable on the screen, so if you would like to add onions to your burger you can do, or you could take pickles away. I personally much prefer using the screens (yes, partly because I'm antisocial and don't always want to talk to someone...), because as soon as you have paid your meal starts to be made in the kitchen, so by the time you get to the counter to pick it up, it's probably nearly made (most meals are made within 2 minutes) - and apparently 40% of other customers also agree with me. On these screens, and also at the counter, you can now ask for table service. You just choose a zone that you want to sit in, and a member of staff will bring your food over as soon as it's ready.
Another part of McDonald's digital revolution is the tablets situated on some of the tables. On these tablets you can access the internet and play games, as well as look at all of the nutritional values of the menu items. Whilst I was in the store there were quite a few kids playing on them - they certainly looked entertained!
The future of McDonald's digital transformation is an app which you can use to order your meal beforehand, and then as soon as you enter the restaurant your food will be quickly prepared for you. This is likely to be around in the next 6 months. Plus I heard though the grapevine that McDonald's may start to deliver in the not-so-distant future... Sunday morning hangover, sorted.
Now, before I talk about making a Big Mac (I know that's the part that you're all most excited for), let's discuss McDonald's "Experience of the Future" project. Traditionally, the main menu items were made in large batches and put into a heater and kept there for up to 10 minutes, so that it was ready for the customer as soon as they ordered. Recently, McDonald's in the UK have changed the way they prepare their food, and it is now all freshly made. New machinery was created to make the process of preparing food even quicker - for example, their toasters toast bread in under 17 seconds. This means that food can be made fresh as soon as it is ordered, and is still with the customer within around 2 minutes.
On to my Big Mac journey! The first exciting thing was that I was given my VERY OWN McDonald's apron, name badge and cap! I just know that I'm going to wear the apron whenever I'm baking or cooking from now on... It makes me feel very professional.
Diane, the manager at Huyton Page Moss McDonald's, very kindly showed me around the kitchen and helped me through my Big Mac journey. Firstly, I had to thoroughly wash my hands. Then it was onto the cooking of the meat, which is the part that takes the longest in the whole Big Mac process. Two pieces of meat from the freezer are placed onto the machine below, and the lid is shut. The machine automatically counts down for you, and when it is done it opens up. I then had to season the meat and put my cooked patties into a storage unit whilst the rest of the burger was being prepared.
Next was the toasting of the bread. All 3 pieces of bread that make up the Big Mac are placed into the toaster, and pop out the bottom when they are finished. I added the patties to the bread, put some Big Mac sauce on top, and then added my chosen fillings - lettuce and onions. I closed the box, and my Big Mac was created!
I then made an iced mango and apple smoothie in the machine situated behind the counter.
Next was the legendary fries. Diane showed me how to scoop the fries and add them to the box in the most efficient way.
And here is my Big Mac! One thing I noticed was how efficient the staff were in the kitchen, and how they all worked so well as a team. Each staff member had a different part of the process to do (for example, cooking the meat, toasting the bread, frying the chips), and they all seemed very highly trained. It was really interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes in McDonald's, and making my own iconic Big Mac (which was delicious, by the way) is definitely something to tick off the bucket list!
Mark is also opening a new McDonald's restaurant on Great Homer Street in Liverpool. This is the first McDonald's to be built in Liverpool for 17 years, and will create 100 jobs (and thousands of Big Macs). It will be two stories high and will apparently have some really funky decor - it's opening on 28th June so go and check it out if you're in the area!
You can find out more information about McDonald's here.
*This post is sponsored but all Big Mac views are my own*