Saturday, 13 June 2015

Much Ado About McDonalds

So what’s been happening to McDonalds? I’m not a frequent visitor, I just take my son there for an occasional treat or grab the odd breakfast if we go on an early morning journey, so was surprised to see some changes on a recent visit. McDonalds seems to have taken on a kind of Argos persona!

It’s true that service in McDonalds seems to have become slower over the years, possibly not helped by the increased range of items on its menu. I remember back in the 80s, if your order was not fulfilled within a certain time span, your food was given to you free! I actually gained through that policy on a number of occasions.

As time progressed that policy was shelved, to be placed only with a “Sorry for the wait”, if your food was slow to arrive. McDonalds has obviously become aware of the slower service and thought that something needed to be done, but I’m not sure that the new setup is the answer.

In some branches, you now go to an order point on arrival, where you select your food and pay for it, before being referred to another (much longer) queue to obtain it. In my experience, this two-step system produced a much longer wait, than the original choose, pay and pick up all-in-one format. Queuing twice is just doubly annoying, and although appropriate in Argos where items have to be located in the warehouse, does not seem suited to fast food outlets.

I can see it’s annoying having to wait for your food, standing aimlessly by the tills amidst the crush of customers, which is why some branches advised you to, “Sit down and we’ll bring your order to you”, if it was expected to be too long. What was wrong with that process?

On the day that we first visited an Argos-esque McDonalds this system could easily have been used, as one member of staff seemed to be employed in nothing more useful than giving out balloons – bringing orders to tables would have been much more helpful.

Of course, the new system could be likened to the drive through version, but I would argue that the drive through (or dreaded ‘drive thru’, as it is cringingly labelled) is rather faster than the in-shop process.

I even feel that a modified version of the system may have worked, but am not about to reveal my cunning plan for a more streamlined service in McDonalds here and now. If the fast food chain would like to hear my idea, then they are welcome to get in touch and I’ll discuss it with them.

In the meantime, the Argos ordering system in McDonalds gets the thumbs down from me!

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