Yep, that's right: if you order food at McDonald's in Leicester Square, it will now be brought directly to your table thanks to a fancy rebrand. After all, just look at the photo above – that, ladies and gents, is a high-class establishment. You can tell, because nothing screams 'sophisticated eating experience' like a venue that has drawn tomatoes on its walls and installed light fittings that look like gigantic Day Nurse capsules.
First, you place your order via one of those super-sized iPads that have recently colonised the city's McD's (and which feature a button labelled 'I have a voucher' – worst Christmas present ever):
Once you've paid, it asks you whether you'd like your meal brought to you – just in case you'd rather queue at the counter for funsies:
If your answer is yes, you have to take one of these 'locators' (read: plastic tokens):
According to a member of staff, the way they work is via super-sensitive GPS that lets staff track your token's whereabouts, and thus know precisely where to ferry your food to. Or maybe it was due to the fact that staff were just wandering around going: 'Excuse me, did anyone order a Big Mac meal?' Either way, the food was with us, within about 30 seconds of sitting down.
However, we quickly discovered a flaw in the system. The touchscreens don't let you order sauces. 'But what are we supposed to do about sauces, huh?' we pleaded. Until our server pointed out that they are all strapped with these: ACTUAL CONDIMENT BELTS STUFFED FULL OF SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE (packets of, obvs).
It was pretty impressive. Or at least it was until we bit into our burger and realised it was cold. Still, the time we spent not eating meant we got to check out the other new features of the revamp. Firstly, they seem to have discovered herbs!
Unfortunately, they're made of plastic and stuffed into a wooden box as decoration.
Also, weirdly, the restaurant now features rows of elevated wooden stadium-style seating, as though they are attempting to turn the chewing of a not-very-good burger into a spectator sport. No-one was using it.
They've also started writing things on their wall which are slightly hard to take seriously when your burger has turned up lukewarm and leathery. For example:
'DON'T YOU TELL ME TO RELAX! I'VE JUST PAID FOR A COLD BURGER!', etc, etc. Also, you know what we don't like during a meal? People trying to correct our posture, as though they're our mum ticking us off in front of posh guests:
Still, they're obviously expecting some people to be wowed. There's now a big touch-screen TV next to the counter which (among info claiming that they're so eco they 'are hugging the trees') tells you how to apply to work there, should you be totally overcome with adulation for the way that they deep-fry those chopped up potatoes.
It's the first table-service McDonald's in the West End (although there are now 12 in total scattered across the capital). And, frankly, we kinda like it. In fact, if they iron out the kinks and start serving hot food, we'll like it even more.