McDonald’s Restaurant Evolution

McDonaldsboxes2When I was pregnant with my twins I had one major craving and that was for Big Macs! I couldn’t get enough then and I still love them now, so I was very excited to be invited along to the Clifton branch of McDonald’s last week. I learnt all about McDonald’s restaurant evolution and even got to make my very own Big Mac!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by McDonald’s but the opinions below are entirely my own and unbiased.

But I know all about McDonald’s

This seems to be a common misconception amongst generations that have grown up with a McDonald’s store nearby. Sure the Big Mac that you order now is virtually identical to the original 1967 burger but McDonald’s is moving with the times and there’s some exciting new features planned for your local store soon!Drinks

It’s all about convenience

Great fast food should be quick to obtain, ridiculously tasty and a stress-free experience. Of course that can mean different things to different people and McDonald’s recognises that individual needs demand personalised options. In addition to familiar staples such as the Drive thru and Order Counter you can now place your order at a Quick Touchscreen Kiosk like the one below. The touchscreen is really easy to use and can even be adapted into several languages or used in an accessibility mode (perfect for wheelchair users or shorter guests).

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Freshness means customisation!

In days gone by people with a particular food hate (like salt on fries) would have been forgiven for thinking McDonald’s wasn’t the restaurant for them. All the food was cooked in advance which meant the contents was set in stone. Well no more, all McDonald’s food is now cooked to order, which aside from being infinitely fresher also means that it’s much more customisable. Even the new touchscreen kiosk offers you the option to remove any food features that you don’t like (such as salt on fries, or Bacon on a Big Tasty).

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But… trying to carry all that food while watching the kids is a nightmare!

I’ve been there too, trying to balance 3 happy meals, 2 adult meals plus 5 drinks just can’t be done. However you can now choose table service and have your food brought to you. Just pick an area and select it when you order and once assembled a member of staff will bring it straight over.

tableservice

The kids run riot if I try to take them out!

Not to worry, McDonald’s is even bringing touchscreen tablets to entertain the kids while you finish your meal. Angry Birds is the current Happy Meal theme and all the games were available to play plus much more. Adults can of course use the tablets too.

Tablets

 

Time to go behind the scenes

I was invited to step behind the counter to visit the kitchens and other storage areas. The sheer scale of organisation was dizzying, plus I’ve never seen so much bread before in my life! Out back there’s some major recycling taking place, the most impressive of which is that McDonald’s takes all their used oil and converts it into Bio Diesel to power their trucks!!

MakingBigMac

We went back into the kitchens where a hive of activity was taking place, everyone has a distinct role and seemed to execute it with ease. After a quick demonstration I was assured that I could make my very own Big Mac. However I felt slightly intimidated by the speed with which the staff work (plus Big Macs are rather iconic!) but I gave it a whirl and I was unreasonably proud of the end result (as my Twitter & Instagram followers are probably already aware) 🙂

MakingBigMac2

Although I can’t promise that both buns have exactly 3.5g of onions (bet you never knew it was so precise!)

MyBigMac

Big Mac complete we took a walk over to the new beverage station and marvelled over the coffee machines (which freshly grind the beans) and watched a demonstration of the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade machine (it’s mesmerising to watch and even self-cleans!)

What I’ll take away from the event

As a huge global company it’s tempting to think that McDonald’s doesn’t listen or notice their customers needs but from my observation that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every member of staff has to work in their stores and interact with the general public (yep even the suited corporate employees have served you meals) so they truly understand how a restaurant works. They care about their employees and are aiming to be a truly flexible employer (great for students, parents or anyone with time restrictive responsibilities). They’re not stuck in the past or hiding behind a name, they’re attempting to take their stores into the future and make your personal visit an enjoyable experience and so far I’d say they’re hitting that goal.

McDonaldsBoxes

For More Information

Pop over to McDonald’s website for further info.

 

 

Gooseberry Meringue Tart Recipe

gooseberrymeringuetartGood Morning everyone! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the fabulous weather the last few days, I most certainly have. Unfortunately the weather folks says it’s all downhill from here and the weekend is looking decidedly cold and dull. There’s no need to feel downcast though with plenty of St George’s Day events and parades planned over the next couple of days. Why not celebrate in style by making today’s super yummy Gooseberry Meringue Tart Recipe from Rachel’s Organic.

Using gooseberries in this recipe adds an exciting twist to a classic British tart

Ingredients:

•375g short crust pastry
•400g fresh gooseberries
•50g caster sugar
•3 tbsp cornflour
•4 egg yolks
•75g unsalted butter
•100g Rachel’s gooseberry yogurt

Meringue:
•4 egg whites
•115g caster sugar
•115g icing sugar
Makes: 22cm tarts serving 6-8 or 6 individual tarts 10cm each

Preparation time: 40 mins  Cooking time: 1 hour

Method:

Step 1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease the tart case and line with pastry. Chill the pastry for ten minutes in the fridge as this will prevent the pastry shrinking. Meanwhile cut out a sheet of parchment paper or greaseproof paper the same size as the tart, crumple and place inside the tart case. Pre-bake with baking beans for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and lightly browned.

Step 2. To make the filling, add the gooseberries together with the sugar and 250ml of water in a pan and simmer until the fruit is soft. Drain the liquid off and reserve the gooseberries. Use the liquid to make a paste with the cornflour and stir this on the heat until it thickens. Beat in the egg yolks and butter. Allow to cool slightly and add the yogurt, then stir. Re-add the gooseberries and stir again. Pour the mixture into the tart case.

Step 3.Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the caster sugar in three stages on full mixer speed. When the caster sugar is all incorporated, fold in the icing sugar in two stages with a metal spoon or spatula.

Step 4. Pipe or spoon the meringue on top of the filling. Bake on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 30/ 40 minutes until lightly brown and crisp.

Tip: this method will ensure a crispy meringue which doesn’t weep.

Trespass Walsenberg Waterproof Jacket Review

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Spring and Summer means more time to get out and about with the family, whether that’s for picnics in the parks or strolls through the Peak District getting outside is good for you! Unfortunately the good old British weather is often less than obliging and likes to throw random rain, hail, sudden cloud and unexpected sun into the mix. That means getting your outdoor clothing right is nothing short of crucial! Ultimately you want to be comfortable and that demands a coat which can stand up to most conditions that the skies can throw at you. For the past few weeks my husband has been testing out a new jacket which we hoped would do just that so here’s our Trespass Walsenberg Waterproof Jacket Review. walsenberg

The Jacket

Trespass says, ‘The Walsenburg men’s waterproof jacket is ideal for those who demand more from their outdoor clothing. This jacket benefits from high technical specs, which will keep you warm, dry and protected in the worst weather.’ Waterproof to 10,000mm Breathable to 5000mvp Windproof Taped seams Pockets include 3 heat sealed water repellent zip pockets for keeping valuables dry walsenbergback

The City Test

My husband wore his Walsenberg jacket to work every day for several weeks and through very weather. He found it kept out the wind and rain which kept him warm and comfy during those early morning commutes. He often travels on public transport which can be quite a stuffy situation but the jacket is very breathable, it even has zips under the arm pits to help it aerate further! dogcoat3

The Country Test

We have a nutty Dalmatian who likes to get out and about no matter what the weather man says. They walked in sun, rain and even some sleet but he came home dry and content every time.

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Final Thoughts

This jacket really lives up to its description. There were several occasions when trousers and shoes (not protected by the coat) were drenched, by comparison any clothing underneath the jacket was bone dry. On a somewhat superficial note the jacket is really well designed and doesn’t scream walking attire, Trespass have really thought about the overall look as well as practicality which I think is a huge bonus. I would highly recommend the Walsenberg jacket whether you’re looking for walking clothes or something to keep you comfy on the commute, it’s a great all-rounder.

Could the Jacket be improved in anyway?

Not really an improvement as such but it’s worth noting that the design of the hood isn’t the most practical if you’re going to be pulling the hood down often (such as entering shops). The zip is designed to go higher than a standard coat which means it’s super protective against wind and rain but that leaves a smaller face opening so you can’t just pull the hood down with speed. As I say this is a deliberate design consideration because this jacket is meant to keep you dry and it will, but worth noting for anyone unused to such a protective hood.

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The Walsenberg Jacket has an RRP of £199.99 but is currently available on Trespass.com for £61.99 www.trespass.com/mens-walsenburg-03431 Available in Black or Pine Sizes XXS – XXL (we found it ran true to sizing on the website).

This product was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. However the opinions expressed in this review are independent and my own.