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Is a Big Mac with Bacon #StillABigMac or #NotABigMac?

PUBLISHED: 12:14 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 15 March 2019

Chief reporter Sophie Morton with Franchisee Zulfikar Somji, First Assistant Sarah Jane Williams and Business Manager Marie Taylor after making a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken Mears

Chief reporter Sophie Morton with Franchisee Zulfikar Somji, First Assistant Sarah Jane Williams and Business Manager Marie Taylor after making a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken Mears

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It's the debate fans across the UK are discussing - so where better to find out more about the iconic burger than behind the scenes in a local McDonald's restaurant?

Learning how to make a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken MearsLearning how to make a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken Mears

I visited local Franchisee Zulfikar Somji to learn a bit more about the iconic burger.

The McDonald’s team were keen to show me around the recently refurbished restaurant and show me how the new technology installed is helping to create a better experience for both staff and customers.

Once my uniform is on and hands are washed, it’s time to get a first-hand lesson in building a Grand Big Mac from Business Manager Marie (who is firmly team #NotABigMac!) and First Assistant Sarah Jane (team #StillABigMac).

Sarah Jane takes me through the process from start to finish, from toasting the buns for the optimum time to the right amount of sauce to add.

Then there’s the onions, lettuce and cheese to add as well - plus whatever preferences the customer have asked for when ordering on the self-service kiosks.

After being shown the ropes, it’s time to put my skills to the test and make my own Grand Big Mac with bacon. All goes well, and I even draw praise from Zulfikar for my fine efforts!

It seems I’m not alone in thinking bacon can absolutely be part of the Big Mac, with 62% of burger fans in the capital agreeing. Bacon fans will have to act fast, The Big Mac Bacon, Grand Big Mac Bacon and Mac Jr. Bacon are available in restaurants nationwide for a limited time only until March 19.

But it’s not just burgers McDonald’s crew have to make these days, and I tried my hand at making a McFlurry, cooking the fries to perfection and preparing the drinks.

Making a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken MearsMaking a Grand Big Mac with Bacon. Picture: Ken Mears

We went through how orders are processed, with customers able to place customised orders on one of the new digital self-service kiosks or through the mobile app as well as the traditional till service.

Once an order is made, it immediately appears on a screen in the kitchen where the food is then prepared freshly made for you.

Food can now also be ordered remotely through the mobile app and will only be added to the restaurant’s order list once the phone is within 100m of the restaurant - meaning it is ready for you to collect it even if it’s ordered hours in advance.

The self-ordering kiosks have a range of language options and can also be adjusted to make them easier for children or wheelchair users. There is also the option to choose table service - something Marie explained was particularly popular with families. Some tables even offer interactive tablets for children to play on while they wait for their food.

Frying the fries. Picture: Ken MearsFrying the fries. Picture: Ken Mears

Both Marie and Sarah Jane started off at one of Zulfikar’s ten restaurants as teenagers, working part time while they were studying.

“I did my A-levels but I decided to stay here because I was offered an opportunity in management,” Sarah Jane said.

“Nowhere else would have given that to someone my age but McDonald’s gave me a chance.”

It was a pleasure getting to meet these women and get to know their personal stories, which just so happened to fall on National Apprenticeship Week.

Chief reporter Sophie Morton with some of the McDonald's staff. Picture: Ken MearsChief reporter Sophie Morton with some of the McDonald's staff. Picture: Ken Mears

Sarah Jane will be starting a business management degree as part of one of many apprenticeship opportunities offered by McDonald’s, who will provide more than £2 million worth of apprenticeship opportunities in 2019 for new and current employees.

Marie, meanwhile, attended “Hamburger University” - the nickname for the company’s head office in East Finchley - where she took a shift leadership course which is equivalent to an A-level.

Zulfikar explained that many of the staff - including the 70 in the store I visited - were young people who learn many transferable skills at McDonald’s from communication skills, team work and dealing with pressure in a fast-paced environment.

There is also the opportunity for crew to become involved in community initiatives from tidying up litter hot spots to working with local grassroots football clubs in the area, providing young players with football kits as well as mentoring and support for the coaches.

It turns out there’s a lot more to McDonald’s than just making burgers, with or without bacon!

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