International burger behemoth, McDonald’s — a brand synonymous with the very origins of the phrase ‘fast food’ — will begin taking reservations at a London restaurant on Wednesday 15 August. Online reservations for the Kensington High Street restaurant will open on Wednesday 8 August, with a two day window to book a place.
It’s not just reservations: the entire restaurant service is being reimagined in the image of a string of service clichés: string quartet upon arrival; velvet surrounds; cutlery dotted with (fake) diamonds. The burgers are different too: “Classic,” “Barbecue (BBQ),” or “Spicy” editions will be served by butlers. In white gloves. From under a cloche.
While McDonald’s global appeal, reliable, tasty food and bottomless financial resources insulate it from changing economic realities on the ground, it’s hard not to notice a recent, concerted effort to innovate: this news comes just a week after plans for the “barista coffee” that the brand so successfully lampooned. It’s also not the first time that McDonald’s has taken reservations: a campaign for a new burger in Sweden did the same in 2015, while a McDonald’s restaurant in Newcastle offered Valentine’s Day reservations followed by Mother’s Day reservations this year.
One thing is certain: McDonald’s is not sitting still. While Burger King gets stuck on repeat, the numerous London restaurant chains in trouble might be looking over their shoulders.