Last week I popped into the newly renovated McDonald’s in Temple Bar, it has had a complete makeover. The 1860’s building is now bursting with colour, with its new swanky street-inspired decor. You’d almost mistake the walls for the back streets of our vibrant city. Its new trendy look is clean, bright and spacious – complete with a baby changing area and disabled toilets.
I met with James Perry, the franchise owner – a man who employs over 370 people here in Ireland. He’s spent 38 years in the food industry and operates six McDonald’s restaurants in Dublin including Temple Bar, Stillorgan, Dundrum, Artane Castle, Malahide Road and Carrickmines. Throughout the duration of our chat you could tell he was bursting with pride, he believes in his brand and everybody he employs. He loves to keep them motivated and loves nothing more than watching them succeed and work their way up from floor staff to management.
I met with Dominic, a dad of one and a long-serving staff member. He’s worked for McDonald’s for over twenty years and now works as James’ General Manager. He was telling me about how when he first started he thought he was only going to last two weeks before finding a new job but he loved it so much and he couldn’t be prouder of what he has achieved in his career to date.
The staff here at Temple Bar are led by a motivated, passionate and inspiring manager and she’s only 22-years-old. Shauna started working for McDonald’s only five years ago, as a part-time worker while she was still in education. She told me her biggest takeaway from working here was how much she’d come out of her shell. She loves how confident it has made her as a person and loves the friendships she’s formed over her short few years working for McDonald’s.
James spoke very fondly of her – telling me how he spotted something in her from day one and how he loves to give every member of his staff the opportunity to succeed and progress up the ladder. He told me how he is able to offer flexibility to his staff, allowing them to balance work/life commitments including family life or for those who want to further their education. It was also noted how they employ people from all walks of life, from people starting out their first job, parents and even people looking to return to the workplace later on in life.
During the revamp they installed three of the new digital kiosks which also offer the option of table service – meaning your food is delivered directly to your table. The Temple Bar restaurant has had table trackers put in store during the renovations. So, when you’re placing an order you simply take one of the trackers and place it on your table. Servers can then bring your meal direct to your table without having to play a game of hide and seek. This is a personal favourite of mine as a busy mum of four. For me, it takes the stress out of juggling the kids, a buggy and a tray of Happy Meals whilst trying to find a seat – it’s kind of genius.
Some might think the new technology cuts out the customer service or maybe even jobs but in fact, it actually gives more opportunities to interact with customers away from the tills and builds valuable soft skills from working front of house. It also ensures customers get their food the way they want it, as the food is now freshly prepared to order once you hit the ‘place order’ button.
For people like me, the Awkward Annies who like to customise orders within an inch of their lives – the digital kiosks are a no-brainer. You can personalise your order to add a slice of cheese, extra onions and have a good nosey through the menu. It also allows you to see the full range of options on the menu including the choices of salads, wraps, fruit and water.
During my visit, I got to go behind the scenes and learn how everything works, where the food comes from and I got to make a Big Mac and my very own Vegetable Deluxe burger – it was delicious if I do say so myself.
I learnt every beef patty sold in McDonald’s Ireland is made from 100% pure Irish beef – there’s nothing else added other than a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s pretty clear they are committed to serving their customers the very best meat, cheese, milk and eggs. I also discovered that one in five McDonald’s burgers served across Europe is Irish!
The experience was completely out of my comfort zone and of course, a unique collaboration for my blog but I genuinely took so much from it. My blog is parenting without the frills. My kids adore McDonald’s as a treat. I love how McDonald’s have kept up with the times introducing more choices in their Happy Meal range including the fruit bags, fish fingers and kids wraps.
McDonald’s is evolving and from my morning with James Perry and his talented team, there are lots more changes on the way and I can promise you, it’s all for the good.
This is a paid collaboration with McDonald’s.