McDonald's is a place that I have known and loved for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I used to love being taken for a Happy Meal as a treat when I had been good, and as a teenager it became a go to place for me and my friends to meet on a weekend, 'burger and fries all round!'. We still visit regularly as a family now, as Robbie loves his Big Macs and Elodie has inherited my love for Happy Meals and the toys that come inside. The restaurants have undergone some big changes since I first started visiting though, these days the decor is so trendy and they're all kitted out with the latest tech and gadgets. So when McDonald’s invited me along to take a look behind the scenes and get some first-hand experience to see what it's really like working in one of their restaurants, I couldn't have been more excited!
behind the scenes mcdonalds skelton grand big mac bacon
Working at McDonald’s
I spent a few hours with the wonderful team at the Skelton restaurant which opened in late 2016. This is the closest McDonald's to us and where we live, so I was already really familiar with the customer side of things, however looking at everything from the other side of the counter was a whole new and very interesting experience.

. I met a lot of staff at the restaurant and found out quite a few of them joined part time whilst at school and college, however, twenty something years later, they're still with the company receiving promotions, pay rises and loving their McDonald's careers. I met the store manager Louise and Area Manager, Leanne Norman, both of whom are incredibly passionate about the company and their jobs... They both worked their way up to where they are today after starting as crew members when they were younger and Leanne even met her husband who was working in McDonald's too!

When I arrived at the restaurant and met the lovely team, I was able to really take on the role as a McDonald's employee and was given my very own uniform, complete with t-shirt, apron, cap, hairnet and name badge - I really felt the part! I was then given a walk round the restaurant front and back of
house with crew members Claire and Ben, who were both new to the company when the Skelton restaurant opened.
behind the scenes mcdonalds skelton
In just over a year, both Claire and Ben have received promotions and pay rises to recognise the hard work that they have put into their roles. After just spending a few hours with them both, it was easy to see how much the staff really do love the jobs that they do. Claire spoke in depth about how there are great career opportunities within the company for those who want to progress and how rewarding it is to work in a team that encourages you to move up the ranks in the company. McDonald’s invests so much time and money (over £50 million each year) into every employee to help them develop and grow their skills. The restaurant welcomes employees from all walks of life and invests a lot of time into their individual training needs, there is even the opportunity to gain formal qualifications while working for McDonald's. You may have noticed yourself that the staff name badges also display the different stars which they have earned in their time with McDonald's, each representing a different reward for areas of training. They can be earned for quality, service, cleanliness and operational excellence and all of the team really do wear their stars with pride.

All of the staff I spoke to told me how much they get from working for McDonald's, how the job is really flexible and gives them the ability to work around their family life and any other commitments that they have. Everyone seemed so happy in their work and the atmosphere not only in the restaurant, but behind the scenes had a real buzz to it. Everyone seemed really motivated and like they were having fun as they worked, which only benefits the restaurant as it helps to create a much more positive customer experience too. Delivering a great customer experience is key and Ben and Claire spoke in depth about their customers, many of which are regulars who order the same meals every week and come to chat to the staff, much like a friend would. There is a really warm and welcoming feel to the restaurant and it is clear to see why people do keep coming back for reasons other than the food.

Digitalisation of the restaurants
The Skelton restaurant is one of the newest in our area and boasts not only a very stylish interior, but includes all of the latest digital features which can make anyone's visit much more relaxing, enjoyable and personal. This includes the use of self-order digital kiosks, click and collect (to be used with the My McDonald's app), table service which is amazing when you're with the children or carrying lots of bags (using zones and table numbers which can be tracked so the staff know where in the restaurant you're sitting!)- plus phone charging points, free WiFi and tablets and magic games tables for the youngsters! It's the perfect family restaurant really, and whenever we visit with Elodie, she's always entertained while we eat.
behind the scenes mcdonalds skelton digital kiosk ordering
At the digital kiosks your order can be placed and paid for by card and then brought across to your table by a member of the team. All meals can be customised to your personal taste here too, so if you're fussy like me and like your burgers without coleslaw and with extra cheese, it's all under your control. The touch screen monitors are really quick and easy to use too, and you're able to view the entire menu in sections - you can even easily see the nutritional value of each item!

Getting Behind the Scenes
The kitchen of McDonald's runs like clockwork with everything having an exact place, time, order and way of working. Hands are washed every twenty minutes, cooking and preparation take place on opposite sides of the kitchen and meats and individual tongs are all kept separately in their colour coded sections.

The Drive-Thru is timed to perfection, with 120 seconds being the target time from ordering to driving away again. Staff are kept motivated through the targets set for service time and the competition with other restaurants in the area. Live maps show staff where in the Drive-Thru the cars are, an automatic drinks machines prepare all of the cold drinks themselves so that staff simply have to place the lids on the cups and the Drive-Thru till automatically dispenses the correct change for every customer./ - All to save time and ensure that every order is delivered as quickly as possible, it’s so clever! There is even a live ranking visible in the kitchen so that all staff in all restaurants can see who's being the most efficient when it comes to serving their customers - there's nothing like a bit of healthy competition!
behind the scenes mcdonalds skelton making a grand big mac
behind the scenes mcdonalds skelton still a big mac
I was able to make a couple of my own burgers during my visit, including the Grand Big Mac with Bacon (the newest item on the menu) and even made a couple of burgers for customers. All of the staff couldn't wait for me to try my Grand Big Mac with Bacon and see what I thought in the Big Mac debate... I loved it and I am definitely on the side of #StillABigMac - If you haven't given them a try yet they are available in grand and junior sizes until 19th March, please do let me know what you think.
what its like to work at mcdonalds blog review
Focus on environment and community
McDonald’s have taken big measures to reduce their use of plastic and improve recycling in their restaurants. Recycling units on the dining area allow customers to separate their plastics, liquids and paper cups for recycling once they’ve been used. Of course all of the straws at the Skelton restaurant are now made of paper too and even the sticks which hold the balloons given out to children at weekends are now made of cardboard. The staff from all restaurants have been doing their bit to tackle litter in the area by supporting the local councils for over 30 years. They carry out regular litter picks on the grounds of the restaurant and beyond to keep mess to an absolute minimum - Employees go out every day to collect all rubbish, not just McDonald's packaging and the UK teams cover approximately 3000 miles each week. I was really pleasantly surprised to find just how strong their links with the local community actually are, staff from other stores in the retail park are given discounted meals when they are in uniform and the restaurant even sponsors a local children's football team and are looking in to finding the time to attend their matches to show their support.

When leaving McDonald's, I actually felt a little sad to be hanging up my apron and not to be a more permanent part of the Skelton family. The entire visit was extremely insightful and very interesting, and I would without doubt recommend McDonald's as a career to anyone!

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