Friday, February 15, 2013

Fast Food Review: McDonald's

Angus Burger with free fries & soda

McDonald's is synonymous with burgers; and while their regular hamburger and McDouble leave much to be desired (outside of price) their upper tier options provide a glimmer of hope amongst the fast food giants. At least they used to.

McD's has been selling Angus burgers in all of their US locations since 2009. Early on, I must admit I was impressed: They tasted a lot better than their slimy older siblings... but not enough to justify their $3.99 price tag. Four years later, they've jumped just 20 cents in cost; but I'd be lying if I said I've had more than five total, since they hit the market.

Today's lunch was courtesy of a coupon (mail marketing is alive and well, America!) Buy an Angus burger, and receive a free medium fries and soda. How could I resist? I popped into the McDonald's at 4130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW minutes before 1 PM. The place was packed: Kudos to this franchise for getting big crowds in and out with startling efficiency. After waiting in line for a couple of minutes, I redeemed my coupon (with zero difficulty) and purchased a full lunch for $4.61 (including tax.) Given the crowd, I expected a lengthy wait; but I received my food within 2-3 minutes. Impressive.

My order came without napkins (oddly enough, there are no napkin stations anywhere in this restaurant) but a super-nice floor employee dropped what she was doing and got me some.) If she doesn't win Employee of the Month, then the world must be ending. Napkins in hand, I went back to my seat and ate lunch.

That's where the trouble started. My fries (which were heavily salted and few in number: Fill 'em up McD's!) were cold. Ditto for my third of a pound burger. McD's advertises a specially seasoned burger, but it tasted bland to me. The meat was properly cooked; but you could tell it was sitting for some time before hitting my tray. I suppose the only way to handle a full lunch crowd is to prepare items in advance, but doing so affects the food... in a negative fashion. The bun was big and fresh, and I'm sure a hot burger would have made a huge difference. Love the coupon. Love the service. Wish I could say the same for the food.

Atmosphere: B- (For a full house, it was less chaotic than usual. I even found a table.)
Service: A- (Quick and friendly.)
Burger: C- (Jumps to a B/B- if not served cold.)
Fries: C- (I hate cold fries.)
Value: B (McD's has the best coupons.)
Overall: C- (Cold burger. Cold fries. Cold response.)