A Bloggers' Preview - McDonald's Open Doors Kitchen Tour

I was invited by omy, together with 19 other bloggers to tour McDonald's kitchen at King Albert Park. Extracted from McDonald's Open Door Media Release dated 10 September 2011.
"Known as McDonald’s Open Doors, this annual global initiative is back for the third year in Singapore. In Singapore, 5,000 customers have also participated in Open Doors since 2009. A free guided kitchen tour at select McDonald’s restaurants, participants will learn about McDonald’s food from “farm to fork” including:
  • how raw ingredients are sourced from a global supply chain with world-class standards for quality, value and sustainability;
  • how food is prepared and served to customers hot and fresh with our revolutionary “Made-For-You” kitchen system;
  • how we keep our world-famous fries crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and packed;
  • the ingredients that go into their favourite McDonald’s foods such as 100% beef, whole-muscle chicken and ocean-caught white fish; and
  • the numerous safety and quality checks in our restaurant kitchens.
This year’s Open Doors in Singapore will see 300 sessions of kitchen tours, conducted between 18 September 2011 to 19 February 2012, at 25 McDonald’s restaurants island-wide. About 3,000 people are expected to participate. The kitchen tours will take place every 3rd Sunday of the month. Members of the public can now register online at www.mcdonalds.com.sg/opendoors."
Without further ado, let me give you a preview of what is behind the scenes of the world famous yellow arcs.
Our Open Doors Ambassador - Linda
We started with a tour to their storeroom. It was huge and spacious and well organised. The heavier foods are placed in the lower racks and the lighter packagings are placed in the higher racks. They also leave gaps between the shelves and wall to allow air flow.
King Albert Park's dry storeroom
Ting, our group host, showing us the storeroom. Can you guess what is in the black bottles at the bottom of the rack?
Can you recognise which buns for which burger?
Next, we moved on to the chiller and freezer section where all the meat patties, fries and other dairy products are kept respectively.
Then we went to the crew resting area, where we saw a few crew resting and having their (McDonald's) meals! There was a LCD television which played their training videos. In the crew resting area, there were noticeboards which displays the latest promotions, staff memos, and other information.
We were brought to the front counter to see how they organise themselves. In a team of two, one takes orders, and the other is a runner where he/she will bring the prepared food to the counter.
Now you know where they got all those sauces when you request for them!
The kitchen tour is the most important and interesting. They are very systematic and organised. The frying section are in one section, separating them from the assembling of the burgers. I was pleasantly surprised that the kitchen was very clean and spacious! I used to think there are many crews working in the kitchen, producing the food for us. However, I realised that it was actually lean and mean for the kitchen crews. Many automation were deployed in the kitchen.
Fries dispensing machine. From the freezer to the fryer to the counter
Frying of nuggets and apple pies
Don't you just love the blisters??
Sauces, colourful boxes for packaging and "special order" stickers
In the assembling of the burgers, there will be an initiator who upon reading from the screen for new orders, will start the process by toasting the buns. After that, it was passed on to the next crew who will topped the buns with salads and sauces. The following person will placed the warm patties on the buns, wrapped it up and placed on the counter to be served. In this station, I noticed that there are only three crews. One of the crew will also cook the meat patties when they run out of them!
The initiator started the process by toasting the buns after she reads from the screen for new orders.
Instructions on the bun-toasting machine. Next time, we can check our buns for this consistency!
The second person in the process, he topped up the buns with sauces and vegetables
The last person, who placed the meat patties on the bun and finished the workflow for the burger
Warmer for the meats. Once the green lights go off, it means the meat has "expired". On the left side, the different coloured tongs are used for picking different meat - blue for fish, green for chicken and red for beef patties!
The griller where the meat patties are cooked. Fully automated
Other facts which might interest you:

  1. The kitchen floor is cleaned at least every hour to keep them greasefree.
  2. Crews have to wash their hands every 15mins.
  3. When handling raw and cooked food, different gloves have to be used. Blue glove for raw food, and transparent glove for cooked food.
  4. 100% vegetable oil is used to cook their famous fries. They filter the oil everyday. The oil is changed at least four times a week.
  5. The food is now made-to-order. Only after you order, they will assemble the burger for you. Therefore, you can always ask for more lettuce, more pickles in your food!

After the tour, we were given a big treat! It was like a mini Mc-buffet. As we eat, we also mingle with other bloggers. It was a wonderful session! 
Special thanks to these two wonderful staff who served us endlessly
Our communication package, which include three free treats
I asked for water, and they served me Evian! Isn't that wonderful?
Warm buttery corns in a cup
Spicy drumlets and nuggets - drumlet is not too spicy, crispy and oily
Cheese McShaker Fries - cheddar cheese powder gives a different taste to the fries
Cinnamon melts - Ooh! This is to die-for. First time I tried it and I really love it! Hot mini buns soaked in cinnamon caramel sauce
Holicks Mcfluffy - New item on the menu. Holicks were a bit sweet. Overall, the crunchy bits made it a wonderful experience!
Many thanks to Janet from omy, and Kevin from McDonald's for the insightful and tasty invitation! I'll definitely be back for more!

Are you lovin' it yet? I'm lovin' it!


laureen lim said...
September 11, 2011 at 2:05 PM

What a great insight to what goes on behind the counter of the ever favourite Macs!

All the best, Jane, to you and your son for his upcoming PSLE! I'll certainly miss your posts and will be looking forward to your return to the world of the Internet :)

Small Small Baker said...
September 11, 2011 at 3:19 PM

The kitchen tour already fully booked! Thanks for showing us what's behind the counter. Happy mid-autumn festival to u and your family!

Janine @ Not the Kitchen Sink! said...
September 11, 2011 at 6:07 PM

wow how I wish I knew about things like this too! It would have been great to tour around MacDs, especially the KAP branch where I spent a large amount of time during my teenage years lol. Thanks for the informative post!

passionbaker said...
September 11, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Thanks Laureen! I definitely needed the well wishes! And yes, I can't wait to be back soon too!

passionbaker said...
September 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Hi SSB. I know it's full. I wanted to bring my children too! Why don't you drop them an email and ask them to inform you when the Dec-Feb reservations are out?

passionbaker said...
September 11, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Hi Janine, there's still chance to visit the kitchen tour. Just watch for their schedule for Dec-Feb. I'll be looking out for it too!

Swee San said...
September 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Oh the McD's butter is just too cute..

Nasi Lemak Lover said...
September 19, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Wish I can join this kind of fun tour one day.

Veronica Krystle Davis said...
October 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Interesting post. I can't believe I missed this. I love kitchen tours! I did one at the Hilton Singapore.

Sherry said...
January 29, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Hi cool and informative post. Is the hotcakes microwaved or made fresh?

Passionate About Baking said...
January 29, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Hi Sherry,
I'm not sure about the hotcakes. I don't think I saw it though.

Pantry Doors said...
February 26, 2013 at 7:24 AM

That was an insightful blog preview, and of course the tasty food described.

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