Sunday, January 06, 2013

McDonald's Mayhem at Billings Bridge

My wife and I visited Billings Bridge Shopping Centre to do some shopping.  A couple of weeks ago we had also received some McDonald's coupons in the mail.  So we thought we would have a morning brunch and then start our shopping at the mall. 
We arrived at 10:30 A.M. to find the Mall's Foodcourt McDonald's (2277 Riverside Drive, Ottawa) closed and not opening until 11 A.M.  But the Tim Hortons outlet directly opposite was lined up and could barely keep up with the flow of customers looking for coffee, muffins and other breakfast items. 

Observing the food court unscientifically customers were enjoying many items that Tim Hortons provides that McDonald's made their name on (i.e. the Egg McMuffin Sandwich).    It is a wonder how the Foodcourt McDonald's doesn't open before 11 A.M. to provide breakfast as the demand, as demonstrated by the Tim Hortons food court location, was obviously there.  The demand was also quite obvious as the Tim Hortons and McDonald's Food Court outlets are opposite each other with the main entranceway from OC Transpo's Billings Bridge Station to the mall being right there presenting a lot of customer traffic.
With the Food Court McDonald's obviously not wanting our business, we continued through the mall to the McDonald's location in the parking lot of the mall (2269 Riverside Drive, Ottawa).

We entered to a semi busy McDonalds with quite a few customers enjoying some breakfast meal with many reading free copies of the Ottawa Sun newspaper.  We walked up to the counter to find four employees working the front.  Two employees were working the drive thru to the left, one female employee was taking our order and one male employee was also working the front doing some running to obtain orders.  One male customer was awaiting his order to be put together.  All seemed normal for a McDonald's. 

We placed our order with the cashier.

The Order: 2 Can dine for $6.48 coupon: 1 Sausage ’n Egg Buttermilk Biscuit, 1 Small Green Tea, 1 Sausage McMuffin, 1 Small Black Coffee and 2 Hashbrowns. 

We politly stepped to the side as the female server went to collect the sandwiches.  The customer who was waiting started getting a little antsy.  The female employee who served us brought over our sandwiches.  Meanwhile his, a Sausage McMuffin was still yet to be served and his hash browns were obviously ready but out of reach of the regular customers.  

The two employees at the drive thru were not doing anything but chatting to each other waiting for more cars to pull up.  The male employee was putting through one customer who needed a drink and that was it. 

We continued to stand there alongside the other customer. His sandwich showed up but not the hashbrown which was still teasing him from the fryer area but not reachable to the average customer.  It was infruriating.  He had to speak up as the female employee and the male employee were now more interested in talking to the kitchen staff as they were holding an easy to hear conversation about when they were going to do after work.  Added to that, he had previously requested a copy of the free copy of the Ottawa Sun and never go it.  But considering the effort he needed just to get the food he duly ordered and paid for, it wasn't worth it.

The male customer, getting agitated, asked for his hasbrown. The female employee ventured over and obtained the hashbrowns and so he was off.  We obtained our hashbrowns but were still waiting for the drinks.  The female employee dissapeared around the side of the drive thru.  I figured she was working on the green tea.  Turns out that was not the case.  She reappeared empty handed to start talking again with the male employee and now the two drive thru employees.

There was obviously no coordinated management at this McDonald's in terms of who was doing what or the attention to detail that the customers were receiving what they ordered in a timely fashion.  At other McDonald's locations there usually is a coordinated effort of one employee taking orders and another running to fulfill the orders.  This works with managers filling in as needed.  But at this McDonald's nobody was wearing the traditional black shirt of the McDonald's manager or supervisor.    All we had were young teenagers wearing blue and black coloured shirts more interested in figuring out what they were doing after they clocked off instead of doing what they were paid for. 

Like the previous customer who got impatient in obtaining his Egg McMuffin, I raised my voice, while pointing to my receipt, asking where the drinks we had ordered were.  The male employee looked over and said he would be filling my order.  Dumbfoundingly, he finally clued in that my wife and I weren't just hanging out at the counter with two breakfast sandwiches and 2 hashbrowns for the ambiance.  He fulfilled our order, finally, and we headed off to find a seat. 

Sadly, there were four tables available.  All of them with empty trays, egg crumbs or other remnants of previous customers meals.  There didn't appear to be any effort of cleaning the tables despite the large number of customers enjoying a Sunday morning breakfast at this McDonald's. 

We found a table in the back of the restaurant that someone was just picking up his tray from.  He conveniently left his copy of the Ottawa Sun on the table and left. We sat down and opened up our meal. 

The Sausage 'n Egg Buttermilk biscuit my wife had tasted like it had been mingling with the hashbrowns and french fries in the fryer.  It was doused in grease.

The hashbrowns were the usual taste.  I will hand it to the McDonald's chain overall, they have the better hashbrowns than Tim Hortons.  Tim Hortons' version tastes like an afterthought to the sandwich instead of making an effort to compliment it.  

The Sausage McMuffin was also wanting.  The processed cheese surprisingly enough was melted unlike other locations.  But that was the only good thing about the sandwich besides the usual English Muffins.  The sausage oaddy was overcooked dry and not very warm.  The sausage paddy tasted like it had been out to long. 

Overall, our stay was not enjoyable.  The service stunk despite there being adequate staffing and the food was below mediocre even by McDonald's standards.  There obviously was no interest from McDonald's in properly managing this location on a typically busy Sunday morning breakfast.  This is one McDonald's location we are not likely to return to for quite sometime.

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