McDonald's, the world’s largest burger chain, is currently in the process of upgrading and renovating its restaurants in Lebanon to provide customers with a modern dining experience. McDonald’s Lebanon launched its new “experience of the future” dining model (EOTF) with the inauguration of its renovated Dora branch. The company’s new dining model will cover all aspects of the dining experience, with focus on three main pillars: menu innovation, customer experience and digital ordering.
In an exclusive interview for foodHQ, Karim Miknas, Managing Partner McDonald's Lebanon was asked about the driving factor behind this drastic developmental and operational change. Miknas said that the change was nowhere near drastic, and the willingness to improve doesn’t necessarily correlate to having problems. “We knew on a global level that we had to be a better McDonald’s, and that process started for us in Lebanon in 2012, being further accelerated by the arrival of our global CEO Steve Easterbrook in March 2015. What we have done is to become more focused on our initiatives, future oriented in our technology and décor packages, and operationally we have improved an already very robust system. We are leaner, quicker and more effective than ever before. Our guests really love the excitement that our turnaround is generating.” He continued to explain that the Experience of The Future does not only apply to technological advances. McDonald’s has always been a high-tech company, but it was mostly behind the counter. The recent advances are now placing more control and greater convenience in its guests’ hands. Technology and décor are the hardware, but they are nothing without the human element. “Our people are the most important aspect of our day-to-day engagement with our guests. So we believe that it’s through the ‘heart ware’ that the guest makes the connection, with delicious and freshly prepared food delivered by people who truly love to serve.” He said. EOTF is supposed to woo customers and attract their attention, and the effectiveness of it depends on how deeply satisfied customers are with their dining experience. To which he commented on by saying “People like what we do and they want us to do it well. When our guests see, feel and taste improvements, they repay us with their loyalty. It’s been an immediate, positive impact on our guests. Everything has been simplified, from ordering food, customizing selections and even options for payment (including super fast cashless). Gone are the days of ordering and lingering around the counter waiting for your order, even if the wait was only a few minutes. Today we give that time back to our guests. Dual Point Service and table service frees guests from that feeling of extra waiting time. On top of this, the décor, sound system and amazing Play Place are truly second to none. We’re giving guests a 5 star experience at the speed and value they expect from McDonald’s.” One of the challenges that McDonald’s is expected to face is the ability to continue with its great work and hold tight with its budget. “We’re on a path we strongly believe in and all our initiatives will support the way forward. We are investing in our future and an improved guest experience so we like to go all out. It’s just about being careful and intelligent in how you spend the money during these difficult times in Lebanon and the region at large.” He said. And finally when asked about the importance of incorporating technology in their business, he had this to say, “The digital revolution is in almost everyone’s hands via the smartphone. It’s crossed over all generations and nations. If you don’t learn to use technology to the betterment of your business, you will be left behind. At McDonald’s we’ve recognized this and we’re fully committed to using technology to make our business run more effectively and give our guests the control and convenience of the ever evolving customer facing digital improvements that will continue to keep us relevant in our quickly changing world.”