Mickey D's - From not bad to bloody hell

We pop in to McDonald’s in Roscrea on most trips from Bandon to Cavan. It is about half way and the kids are usually starving at that stage. It’s a wee bit small and parking is a hassle but it is one of the best run ones in the country. They have one of those “helper” people permanently on the floor mainly doing clean-up but also offering to mind kids if you need to order the food or go to the loo. The food is fine and the place is always spotless.

On the way back from LondonDerry (how much trouble am I in for writing that :-) ) we were targeting McD’s in Athlone which isn’t as good as Roscrea but is usually fine. But Fionn couldn’t wait that long and we pit-stopped at the one in Cavan. We’ve been in it several times before and it has never really impressed. Always feels like there is no-one really in control. This time was shockingly bad. The place was empty on arrival so all of the staff were chatting. The young-fella who took the order was fine - and he was the highlight.

The baby high-chairs were filthy. I dropped some fries on the floor on the way to the table and they stayed in full view of all for the entire meal. The mens toilets were filthy and had no toilet roll. I also didn’t see a cleaning schedule pinned up anywhere. No cleaning was done in the main seating area for our entire visit. Bloody awful. Was there even a manager on duty? This McD’s is usually very busy and my guess is that they have come to the conclusion that they don’t need to try to excel at all since the business comes in anyway. A recipe for disaster. This is exactly the reason that McDonald’s as a corporation got into so much trouble. They raced towards the bottom of the market, concentrating entirely on cost and forgetting that they need to keep customers happy. It is the same mistake Dell are making with the corner-cutting on quality at the moment and I’ve a feeling RyanAir are also going to hit a tipping point where customers say “no more”. But this will probably not be until Michael O’Leary decides to transport cattle in the main cabin along with people.

I heard a fantastic quote on “The Restaurant Guys” podcast last week (well worth listening to these guys) where they repeated an old saying: “In the restaurant business, if you are not getting better, you are getting worse”. I think that applies to all business.

I know I’m only talking about fast food but McD’s really seemed to be getting their act together recently. Good coffee, nice variations on burgers, some variety in the Happy Meals. Let’s hope Cavan is just one bad franschisee and not a trend.

On a side note, after the hell of the Maxol Coffee we stopped in Supermacs in Fermoy so Catherine could change Fionn. This is another place that always looks dirty but to be fair to them, the service was excellent, the chicken tenders were genuinely tasty (real chicken, possibly from Ulan Bator but real chicken all the same) and the coffeee was good. Their adult loos were fine but the changing area for babies was flithy.

Oh god, am I turning into the Sunday World’s Pub Spy? Is that newspaper column still going?

Whilst I am at it, any recommendations for Child friendly places to stop on the N62-N55 that are not too close to Cork or Cavan. Needs to be speedy, have clean loos, child-changing facilities, better food than McD’s, not require a detour and be helpful if you do have four monsters. I don’t ask for much do I ;-)

[tags] McDonalds, Roscrea, Athlone, Cavan, The Restaurant Guys, Supermacs Fermoy[/tags]

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com