McDonalds Restaurants are Transforming Their Image, Food and Customer Experience
In case you haven’t noticed, McDonalds restaurants have been making some big changes recently. Their new commercials talk about their 100% fresh, not frozen, beef, breakfast all day, ice cold signature Frappés and food without artificial preservatives. But that’s just the beginning. Your whole experience of McDonald’s is about to change. This fast food restaurant is morphing both inside and out by changing their restaurant design, the way you order & pay and to a fresh new menu. In other words, they are offering customers a new, more modern experience. This is probably the biggest transformation in the company’s history. This new change referred to as the “Experience of the Future” (EOTF) is just that. In fact, it all has a bit of a Jetsons (from the iconic TV show) feel to it with digital ordering & payments, computer monitors keeping orders on track, computerized machines making drinks and conveyors moving food to the pickup zones.
The company has been very aggressive in this transformation and plans to update 1,000 of its U. S. restaurants per quarter in 2018. So watch for the changes to a McDonald’s near you.
San Antonio already has a couple of restaurants that have made the switch. I had the opportunity recently to visit one of these newly renovated restaurants located at 3303 Nogalitos just south of the city to see what all the excitement is about.
The first thing I noticed when driving up is the building was the new modernized look of the structure itself. It has cleaner lines which are visibly more appealing. A face-lift gone well if you will. Inside I was encouraged to order through the touch-screen kiosks instead of the live person behind the counter. This can be rather intimidating for most long-held customers. I need not have worried though, as they had special crew members to walk me through using the kiosks. Now patrons can browse the menu, find new options and tailor their meal to their taste. Once they place their order, they can pay on the touch-screen, pick a number (numbers have a microchip so they can find you), take a seat, and wait for a team member to serve them. Yes, at this new McDonald’s they brought my order to my table instead of me having to wait by the counter to have my number called. I just got to skip the whole wait-in-line to order & pay process!
With the kiosks and mobile ordering, there will be less interaction with employees which should also lead to fewer mistakes in your order. As soon as your order is placed, a team members sees it on a computer monitor and adds the item (say fries) to the order.
I next noticed that all the food that used to be visible behind the order counter is now missing. Instead, there is only a wall with the digital menu listed on it. All food is made-to-order so there are no longer heat lamps to keep everything warm. Fresher is always better!
The drive-thru experience has also been streamlined to speed up ordering and delivery of food with less wait time. The location I visited, 3303 Nogalitos, has added two drive-thru lanes along with multiple entrances and exits for quicker in and out. And curbside service is going to be available at many locations as well as delivery service to your home or office.
But the new EOTF experience doesn’t end there. They have also made some delicious changes to their menu. This includes cooked-to-order Quarter Pounder hamburgers made with fresh, not frozen, beef. And new menu options like their Signature Crafted Recipes. I tried the new Signature Crafted Bacon Smokehouse burger which I thought was pretty darn good. Smoky, sweet and savory all at once! When ordering from the kiosks, I noticed I could customize everything I order easily too. Don’t want lettuce, just check the box. While touring the kitchen at the Nogalitos location I kept hearing a cowbell ring. Inquiring about this, owner Pedro Carrazana said, “Each time a Quarter Pounder is sold, the bell rings”. There were a lot of Quarter Pounders sold while I was there as the bell was ringing constantly. McDonald’s has also added higher quality, fresher ingredients to everything they make, so patrons should notice a big change in taste. Freshness like guacamole made with Hass avocados, crispy applewood smoked bacon, real cheese with no preservatives and fresh grilled onions are an example.
They are also bringing a more relaxed dine-in experience to their fast-casual restaurants by offering table service and training team & crew members to put a higher emphasis on hospitality by greeting customers, assisting them with the new technology and offering a cleaner, friendly environment. I noticed the new upgraded grey uniforms everyone was wearing too. Great for a modern, upscale look!
And the kids play area has new safety features along with separate areas for toddlers and older kids. The tables in the play area are equipped with interactive light-up features to help keep the children entertained while eating.
Pedro Carrazana, the owner of the Nogalitos restaurant, has worked in the restaurant business since he started as a Crew member at a McDonald’s when he was just a senior in high school. From there he worked his way up the ranks in the company while working in different positions for McDonald’s in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. His last position outside of the U. S. was in Puerto Rico where he was COO of the Caribbean area for the company.
In 2005 he moved back to the states (San Antonio) where he fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming a McDonald’s Franchisee and acquiring 3 restaurants in the San Antonio area. Today he owns and operates 5 restaurants in greater San Antonio. Pedro is proud to call San Antonio home where he lives with his wife and two children all of whom work for the restaurants.
Location: 3033 Nogalitos St, San Antonio, TX 78225
Phone: (210) 927-3335
Hours: Open 24/7