I know what you're thinking. How can a McDonald's possibly be Road Trip Worthy? Here's how. Last week I was invited to attend the unveiling of the brand-new, first-of-its kind renovated MCD in the state. This is the future of McDonald's with self-ordering kiosks, table service, new menu items and free wi-fi.
You might also be wondering, Everett? Where is Everett, MA? I didn't know either. It's right outside Boston. Like....right outside Boston. It's basically Boston, except it's Everett. Next time you head to our state's beloved capitol city, divert two miles out of city bounds and check out this restaurant. You won't be disappointed. Neither will the kids. Cause, Happy Meals.
As a special guest, I got a behind the scenes look at the new kitchen technology and a chance to meet Chef Mike Lingo, who helped develop the new Signature Crafted Recipes that debuted recently. Wowzers. We're talking high tech food science here. It was very cool to see how the company has perfected it's meal prep techniques to ensure accuracy with custom orders. There's actually a particular way they squirt the condiments on the bun to ensure even distribution for maximum flavor. Who knew?
It was pretty much my best McDonald's experience ever, except for my fifth birthday party which took place across the state here at the McDonald's in Easthampton. I can still remember my paper boat McDonald's party hat. I think there may even have been an appearance by Grimace. And I definitely remember the tiny package of sugar cookies that used to come in all the Happy Meals back then. The lemony-vanilla ones. Pure bliss. I tell my girls about these all the time. Cookies in a Happy Meal are myth to them.
Maybe we don't have cookies in Happy Meals today, but we can look forward to a brand new McDonald's experience that starts when you walk in the door and face a self-ordering kiosk. Because although this technology may only be at select sites right now, it will be coming to a restaurant near you very soon. You can completely customize your order here - down to the amount of toppings on your sandwich. You can pay with your credit/debit card or mobile pay options. And no worries if you're old school, you'll still have the option place your order with a human and pay with cash at the counter too.
Speaking of mobile options -- if you download the McDonald's app you will get access to exclusive weekly deals; for example, for a limited time you can score FREE medium fries and a soft drink with any Signature Crafted sandwich.
With the kiosk, once you place your order you are assigned an order number. The next step is to take the corresponding table number placard from the adjoining stand, find a comfy place to sit, place the placard on your table, then sit back, relax and wait for your order to be delivered. It's definitely a more relaxing experience than repeating the specifics of your order to the cashier over a din of customers and then being jostled in line while you wait for your order to be ready.
McDonald's is also stepping up their menu game. As part of the event, we were able to sample the brand new Signature Crafted sandwiches which are available at all locations: the Pico Guacamole, the Sweet BBQ Bacon and the Maple Bacon Dijon.
It happened to be Cinco de Mayo when I was hanging out with all these cool folks from MCD so I had to go with the Pico Guacamole with a grilled chicken breast (they're not joking about the customization -- some of the other guests decided on the pico with a beef patty or a breaded chicken breast, some added bacon, some no tomatoes...you get the idea). It was delicious. I really didn't feel like I was eating at McDonald's (except, of course, the fries). The Signature Crafted sandwiches have a more refined taste -- it could have been a pub sandwich from a local, 'fresh is best' food truck for all I knew. There is no fast food taste with these new creations. Note to self: never order this sandwich if you're planning to eat on the run. This is not a drive thru experience. You really need to sit and enjoy all the saucy goodness of this masterpiece.
Not only was it super cool to be invited behind the scenes of a new concept store; the event was inspiring as we got the chance to meet store owner Jeffrey Brewster. Brewster is passionate about his business, his community, and especially his employees. He's a MCD lifer -- he started working there as a teenager and now owns 15 franchise locations around Eastern New England. I think as consumers we tend to take iconic brands for granted without really thinking about the local communities they support, the jobs they provide (over 115 employees at the Everett location alone), and the human beings who are passionate about their purpose within these giant corporations.
I was curious as to whether these new self-ordering kiosks would replace employees; however, research done at other high tech locations has shown that this new way of doing business actually increases demand at the restaurants thereby requiring more new hires. Globally, all markets using this new technology have shown increased sales and the need for more hands on deck.
So if you're a McDonald's fan, you've got to check out this location. It's worth the drive to 128 Broadway, Everett. It's one of only five markets in the country (and the only one in the state) to offer this new experience. This location has two stories - with dining rooms on both levels. The brand-new kitchen is on the second floor and the whole setting is open and sparkling and unlike any McDonald's you've ever been to. You can stop by any time as they're open 24 hours.
It was so interesting to learn how McDonald's is always looking to innovate and improve the menu and dining experience. Now....if only we could get them to bring back those cookies.....#ImLovinItNE #SignatureCrafted
I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.