McDonald’s has begun offering table service for the first time in the UK as it fights back against increased competition, it has been reported.
The QSR chain has begun trialling the new approach at a branch in Mottram, Greater Manchester, and has plans to roll it out to 11 more locations by the end of the month.
It will take the system nationwide if it proves to be a success. Customers who prefer to queue will still be able to order at the till.
According to the Guardian, the embrace of table service is the latest attempt to modernise the image of McDonald’s restaurants. While it remains the largest player in the burger market, it has gained competition from new rivals such as Five Guys and Shake Shack, and Mexican chains such as Chipotle, over recent years.
The report said customers will be able to order from digital kiosks or staff with tablet computers, with the food then delivered to their table.
The initiative is targeted at young families and customers who do not want to wait at the traditional McDonald’s counter.
McDonald’s first opened in the UK in 1974 and now has more than 1,250 restaurants in the UK.
Although table service is a first for McDonald’s in the UK, it has trialled the concept elsewhere in the world, including France, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.
The recently-appointed managing director of McDonald’s UK, Paul Pomroy, is currently said to be overseeing a £350m refurbishment programme of the company’s restaurants. This includes providing Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy tablets that children can play with, installing digital kiosks where customers can make orders and building glass shopfronts on McDonald’s restaurants. About 250 McDonald’s restaurants will be revamped by the end of the year.
Pomroy told the Guardian that McDonald’s was making changes to restaurants and introducing table service in response to customer feedback. He said the company would not increase prices to pay for the overhaul.
“We have listened to customer feedback and to meet their evolving expectations, we are significantly investing in our restaurants to create an exciting new environment and improve the customer experience,” Pomroy.
“We also plan to test some new ideas. For example, we know that for parents it can be tough juggling the kids and carrying your food, so we have decided to trial table service, whereby customers place their order via our new kiosks and then have their food brought to them.
“It is currently on test in one restaurant here in the UK, but with plans to increase the trial to about a dozen restaurants over the coming month. It’s an idea that has been successfully launched in France, and we are keen to see if it will prove as popular with our customers in the UK.”