Things are changing at McDonald’s — and nowhere more so than in its kitchens. The Golden Arches chain remains the dominant player in the UK fast food sector, but its position has come under fire of late as ‘healthier’ QSR alternatives have taken aim from one side and the likes of Five Guys and GBK have emerged all guns blazing with their ‘gourmet burger offerings on the other.

As you’d expect from a brand that operates more than 1,250 outlets in the UK alone, it isn’t going to watch on idly or take things lying down. Everything from table service to customised burgers is being considered in a strategic shake-up of a magnitude never seen before. Kitchen design is also in its line of sight as it looks to leave no stone unturned in optimising every aspect of its operation. A branch of McDonald’s in Cornwall has just rolled out a new kitchen lay-out as part of a move that has also seen the introduction of self-service technology. Similar improvements are expected in other branches around the UK if all goes to plan. The man overseeing all of this is Paul Pomroy, UK managing director since February this year. Paul is a 20-year stalwart of the chain, originally joining the company as a real estate analyst before working his way up to the CFO position prior to getting the top job. Jill McDonald, who has since defected to Halford’s but was CEO when Paul’s appointment was made public this year, hailed him as a “strong and highly respected leader” with immense knowledge of the business and a “burning passion” for the success of the brand.

McDonald’s employs some 100,000 people in the UK and has pledged to create a further 8,000 new jobs over the next three years. Paul admits he is relishing the challenge of building on what he calls its “strong and sustained performance” in the UK. “To do this we will keep listening to our customers and build greater affinity with them to make sure they enjoy great-tasting food made from quality ingredients, good value and a fun experience every time they visit our restaurants,” he says.

“We have continued to successfully grow our like-for-like sales ahead of a subdued market, in addition to integrating the Orchid business”

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