A higher standard of convenience.

When I was asked to collaborate with McDonald's I have to admit I paused to think if I should. 'Does it fit my brand?' Was the first thing that popped into my head.

But one thing I knew for sure, it fits right into my reality.

I didn't need to be invited into the Ballymena restaurant to see its new transformation, try their products and one things for sure, I didn't need invited in to try their coffee.

The convenience is relied on many days, the drive through coffee has saved my sanity on the harder days of having 2 under 2 and now helps to give me a little power to get me through interrupted nights sleep and into work.

So I (Colin even more so) was pretty excited to go and meet the team, see what goes on behind the scenes and of course find out more about the launch of their new Signature Burger range which is available in 12 restaurants throughout Northern Ireland. It is a premium burger with fresh, quality ingredients, made to order and the fashion designer Julien MacDonald even teamed up with them to design the launch packaging.

When we arrived we were greeted by Kadian (business manager) and Karl (operations consultant) to find out a little more about it. Karl recognised us from being in and out of the restaurant as we take the girls in for a treat and I have popped in a few times to catch up on emails along with a coffee.

We quickly got distracted and I began to chat about recruitment, colleague development and service. Partly out of my own interest and how many similarities that McDonald's shares with my own line of work. What I must say is that every time I am in (and I'm not talking about just this occasion as they knew I would be writing about it) I get amazing service. I wanted to know if the new transformation and using touch screens to order your food has decreased staffing numbers but was both surprised and impressed to find out that in fact they had to recruit an extra 20 members of staff as a result.

The focus now for McDonald's is bringing convenience to the next level, thinking of the busy business men/women, the parents with kids running around as they try to order, the students that are looking for some refuge and a chat with their mates and the 'lets just go out for dinner' diners.

Your order is brought to your table and even with the new app you can order before you arrive, pay and have it served when you come in.

Back to the new Signature burger, Colin actually tried this last week when after a full week of Bella asking could we go to McDonald's I agreed that we would go on the Friday night. As soon as our order was placed Annie had an accident, a hearty giggle at Bellas devastated face and we changed from sitting in, to taking out.

Colin was extremely impressed with the Signature burger and I got to try a very tiny bite by the way Colin held his thumbs when he was sharing. We got to make our own burger and I couldn't wait to get behind the scenes as the 6am peeks through the drive threw window I can see how busy everyone is even at that time.

We met Sarah (deputy manager and a Ballymena girl) and after thoroughly washing our hands and all jewellery removed they took us through making our own Signature burger and what a laugh we had. Let's just say that if it was Colin or I making your meal the primary complaint would be about the length of time it takes followed by the ratio of sauce. 

The work and meticulous planning that goes into ensuring every single burger is freshly prepared just for your order (they no longer are pre prepared and sit waiting) and they do all of this in super quick speed, it is extremely impressive.

I made the Classic signature and Colin went for the spicy (BBQ is also available in the collection). I am not normally a beef burger girl, I normally keep Big Macs for a Sunday morning pick me up 😜 (and let's face it I don't go out too much so it's not often) and would opt for a Chicken Mayo burger instead but I loved the classic and I don't know if it was the brioche bun and mustard mayo or the thick, as I called it 'butcher like burger' (made with 100% Irish and British meat) but it matched (or beat) any high end luxury burger bars and at £6.39 for the full meal, it is even perfect for a Ballymena mans pocket.

We got to take home the Ronald McDonald House Charities bears for the girls, the charity funds houses across the UK that provide a home from home beside hospitals to ensure that families can still operate while they are caring for a sick child. The girls were delighted with their bears even if they weren't so impressed that we were there without them.

The Signature Collection is now available in Ballymena restaurant and across 12 restaurants in NI and 600 in the UK. Prices start at £4.89.

I was kindly invited to come and visit the restaurant and try out their new range and McDonald's. All words, images and opinions are entirely my own. Thanks to McDonalds for sponsoring this post.

Anna xx