One of the first things customers will notice when a McDonald's employee brings over a cooked-to-order Quarter Pounder is the smell. It smells...well, fresh. It's hotter and juicier, too.
"Serving 100 percent fresh beef patties is a very big change for us, all the way through the supply chain to our kitchens," said Rick Darmody, who oversees 26 family-owned McDonald's franchises across the Treasure Valley. "Of course, the biggest change is at the customer level."
Forefront among those changes is a feature Darmody has already begun launching at some of his Boise-area McDonald's: tableside service.
"Let me show how this works," he said, stepping up to one of four touchpad kiosks now operating at the Overland Road McDonald's. "You can customize just about everything here."
Customers flipping through the electronic menu can adjust everything from the ingredients on their burgers to size of their beverages and even the amount of salt on their french fries.
"Then you choose a table tent sign," said Darmody. "Each of these table tents is equipped with bluetooth technology, and restaurant-wide sensors will tell us where you're sitting. I think some customers still enjoy the option of coming to the counter to place their order, but we expect the usage of our new kiosks to increase over time."
Change has definitely come to McDonald's in a big way, what with the new McDonald's app, which alerts locations to have pickup orders ready using GPS technology, and McDonald's new Uber Eats partnership for home delivery.
"Customers love McDonald's because they say it stays the same," said Darmody. "But those of us who have been with McDonald's for a while know that the one thing that's consistent about McDonald's is that it's always changing."