The Masonville McDonald's has been closed for the past few weeks but fear not, by late June, the restaurant should be open again with a fresh look and new options that look to expand guest customization.
Western students may have greater convenience at the Masonville location as well. London franchisee John Simioni is currently looking into getting the Western One Card as a payment option in response to feedback he's heard from students.
Regional vice president, Ontario Vic Rocca said they're in the process of rolling-out the so-called "restaurant of the future."
"We’ve got eight restaurants currently in London that we’re showcasing a lot of changes to the guest experience,” Rocca said, pointing to features like self-serve kiosks and build-your-own-burger. The kiosks are touch-screens and have already been rolled out at the Wharncliffe and Oxford location.
Simioni explained that the build-your-own-burger feature requires space that the Wharncliffe and Oxford location just doesn't have, but said the Masonville location will have it when it re-opens.
"You’ve got a choice of two different buns, a lettuce wrap [and] 30 different combinations of sauces and condiments to create the burger as you like it,” explained Rocca of the new feature. Crumbled blue cheese, sundried tomato pesto and guacamole are just some of the new options available.
A launch event this past week at the Highbury and Hamilton location provided a preview of what could be expected at Masonville. Guest experience leaders — known to most as servers — with white dress shirts, black pencil skirts and red scarves bring your food to the table in another new feature.
The plating was not what you would expect from McDonald's, with the burger being served on a wooden tray. The sriracha and Big Mac sauce together worked pretty well and the burger tasted better than what you're used to.
"You have to do a lean forward," advised Simioni.
"It can get pretty juicy, sometimes I eat mine with a fork and knife," said Rocca.
While you won't find Kraft Dinner or pineapple on the menu like at The Works, the new build-your-own-burger is also around half the price. It's certainly a different and more elevated version of McDonald's that's being offered. Also, the seven to nine minute cooking time is pretty quick given the improved quality.
This new version of the McDonald's is certainly different than what the McDonald brothers imagined in 1948 when they opened their first drive-in restaurant with only nine items. The increasingly competitive market for fast-food has likely prompted some of these changes as well as the expansion of the McCafé brand.
Will one of these new improvements be all-day breakfast like what's offered in the United States?
“I get a lot of questions about all-day breakfast," Rocca said. "I think Canadians are very passionate about breakfast and coffee so it’s understandable. We’re keeping an eye on what the U.S. is doing … at this point in time, it’s not something we have plans for.”
Ultimately, consumers are the ones set to benefit from new features and improvements.
While 'restaurant of the future' may be a big statement, McDonald's is currently looking to move beyond just the Big Mac.