Taste Test: McDonald's Home Delivery Service Is Kind Of Awful

There are some things in life that just go hand in hand: peaches and cream, Simon & Garfunkel, jockey shorts and Ryan Gosling. Unfortunately, it would seem McDonald's and home delivery do not make a perfect duo. In fact, the results are pretty horrendous.

The service launched in the country back in August, 2014. My local McDonald's in Stanmore, Sydney, was one of the first outlets to do home delivery but I had yet to try it. With McDonald's expanding its locations for delivery, I decided it was time to dip my toes and taste buds into this uncharted territory. (Lifehacker's resident Taste Test reporter, Chris Jager, lives out in the sticks of the Blue Mountains, so I agreed to take one for the team.)

I had my reservations. We're dealing with food here that can go from great to gross in the space of five minutes. That's partly why McDonald's slaps their burgers together to order and food is always cooking.

Yet, I remained optimistic. Stanmore Maccas was about a five-minute drive (or a three-minute scooter ride) from my house. The food should remain moderately fresh. Even if they hit every red light, it couldn't possibly take longer than 10 minutes to get here.

After doing some rudimentary mathematics in my head, I put through my dinner order of $25 worth of McDonald's food, which is the minimum amount for delivery. This is pretty high compared to other home-delivered takeaway services. If you're not ordering for a group, you're going to need a very big appetite. Here's what I ordered and why:

  • McOz Value meal: I thought this would make a pretty good burger test, as beetroot can make bread soggy if allowed to rest too long.
  • Frozen Coke McFloat: I threw this in as an experiment to see how desserts would fare during the delivery process. Sadly soft serves (my personal favourite), were not on the menu.
  • One large fries: To me, this was going to be the chief "make-or-break" factor -- McDonald's fries are generally the first things to go cold and they taste pretty nasty afterwards.
  • Fillet-O-Fish: I only got this because my dinner date likes them.
  • Large McNugget meal: Because I love McNuggets. (Who doesn't?)
  • Garden salad: To make up the total cost (and to feel less fat.)

The ordering process, which is handled by Menulog if you go through the main McDonald's website, is simple enough, with a robust menu featuring accompanying thumbnail images of the food and beverages available. The layout could be neater as it looks cluttered, making it annoying to navigate.

The online menu somehow manages to be basic and cluttered at the same time.

I was willing to overlook the website's shortcomings… But what I couldn't stomach was how long it took for the food to arrive (or the food itself, which I'll get to in a moment.) After several repeated phone calls, two reassurances that my food was on its way followed by a series of ignored calls, my food arrived just over an hour after I had placed the order. When you consider McDonald's uses a ready-made menu, this is a ridiculously long waiting time.

Struck with a severe case of the 'hangries', I wasn't the most pleasant patron when I greeted the deliveryman... and then it got worse…

Him: (Hands me two drinks) Me: Which one is the Coke and which one is the Coke Zero? Him: Ummmm… I don't know… and here is your third Coke. Me: I didn't order a third Coke. Him: Oh… (Checks receipt). That's the McFloat. Me: (Clearly seeing it was just a Coke without a smidge of soft serve on top). That's not a McFloat, mate. Him: Oh… they… ah… ran out. Me:

He also tried to get the receipt back (which had his name on it) after I told him I'd be doing a review about this for Lifehacker, which did not go down well with me.

I don't think there's much more to say about the food. Aesthetically, the food looked fine but it was stone cold. This really sucked the deliciousness out of the food. I imagine this is what it's like to eat fancy plastic food models: with every bite, my life got a little sadder.

My friend who ordered the Fillet-O-Fish described it best: "Usually I regret eating Maccas afterwards… But I'm actually regretting it as I'm eating this."

I did attempt to salvage the fries and the saving grace of this whole experiment was discovering heating McDonald's fries in an oven makes them taste more delicious. But that could not salvage the McDonald's experience which left a bitter taste in my mouth that not even a soft serve could wash out.

Food: 3/10

Service: 2/10

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Comments

    Honestly, this is not surprising. I live less than 1km from a McDonalds at Forest Lake, in Brisbane. The time it takes me to drive my son up there, get him a meal and back, everythings gone soggy and crap. The chips wilt, the burger goes all weird and gross... and that's in the space of 5 minutes. I don't know what the hell McDonalds were thinking, they can't possibly be getting ANY positive feedback, everything I've seen suggests otherwise?

    If you're getting maccas delivery then you should be making better life decisions.

      How is it any worse than pizza delivery?

        Didn't you just read the article?

          I did of course, I mean in theory. I'm an ex delivery driver. Your pizza gets to you usually congealed somewhat, soggy crust etc. It's just not as noticeable. The ingredients, some of them, even begin to sweat, as often they sit in 'warming bags' in the store. But if gotten home quickly NOT in a delivery bag, it's often ok. Maccas is not suited for delivery at all, but to denigrate someone for ordering one fast food and not chastise for ordering another, is silly when the fact is, all delivery of all fast food sucks because of the extended time it takes.

          Last edited 13/02/15 1:35 pm

            You sir have won my daily Internets.

              I've often wondered how to claim all these internets I have stacked up out there in internetland...

    It's maccas fault. There food is not made to be taken away and not eaten for more than 5 min. After that time all the food goes soggy and blah. As for the service you got from the delivery person, all home delivery food services have questionable customer service at best.

      Bullshit. It's social engineering and a little cash. Whichever is your favourite/commonly used takeaway be sure to be friendly to the delivery person and the first few times they deliver say something like "hey that was pretty quick, here keep the change" and sling them $5. Do that a few times and I guarantee they will get to know your address and you will be first on the delivery run every time. And hey - keep slinging them the tips. They work for shit money and it is worth it if your food is delivered quickly and still warm.

    What does McDonalds expect in their delivery service? They've made their products to be eaten immediately, and then they introduce a delivery service, thus adding more time before consumption. I wonder what their expectations are of this?

    Wow, complete opposite to my experiences.
    I ordered with some trepidation the first time, but the experience was so smooth and high-quality that I actually make a habit of doing this almost weekly, now. The only downside is the $5 delivery fee, and frankly that's worth it for not having to put on pants/burn petrol.

    It's not FAST, but it's about as fast as anyone else in my area: 30-40min from order lodgement, confirmed almost immediately by SMS.

    And the delivery drivers have all been totally on top of things. The bags they use seem to be designed to ensure there's no spillage or overlaps, they provide ample condiments and napkins, straws, etc, and they had drink trays ready to fold and provide for us, too. Plenty hot enough - about the equivalent of us driving it home - and just as well-prepared as any other burger. It traveled well, care was obviously taken.

    The McDonalds delivery service has been FANTASTIC in Lutwyche, and I think the LH report should probably try ordering from another location in the franchise to make sure it wasn't just a shithouse night/individual location.

      Actually, I would advise this. I was known as one of the best Pizza Capers delivery drivers and gave our store a great reputation for deliveries due to a few factors: I used a GPS, I always smiled, was happy and checked my orders when I left the store. Never had a mis-delivery, for the fact I was always careful. Such simple things make all the difference. I think you're right, I think Maccas should be ordered from at least 3 - 4 more places from varying distances again, then the article published with this information added, just for comparison. While I still stand by the idea it's not the best food for delivery, it's still possible this was just an isolated bad experience.

      Last edited 13/02/15 6:16 pm

        Yeah, I think it's bullshit for the hard-working and professional crew who've rocked up at my door to get a bad rep thanks to the tool who fucked up an order for a blogger.

        Hell, the menulog system maccas is using actually asks you to list the nearest intersecting road to make sure the driver doesn't end up at the wrong end of one of those bloody ridiculous bisected roads that shouldn't be allowed to exist.

          Wow that's pretty thorough, all I used to get at Pizza Capers was

          "39 Lorikeet St. It's in that new development that hasn't been mapped by googlemaps or anything yet... good luck. Oh they also said, they want you to hurry, also bring it around the back as they're having a party."

          Drove around for *ages* trying to find Lorikeet, tried ringing these people 5 times, but no answer. Got there, gate was padlocked shut, no shit. Try to go through front door, ring doorbell a dozen times, noone can hear me, stereos right up out the back. Can't get out the back *at all*. *SIGH* Had to eventually just go back to the store. They tried to take it out of my wages, I argued no way, ended up winning. Customer rings up, I answered, explained, customer screamed at me I should've rung doorbell. fml. lol

          That's just one of the reasons shit can be late lol

    I've only ordered McDonalds delivery at friends' places (as they don't service my area) and I've had nothing but good experiences.

    The service launched in the country back in August, 2014

    Err actually I think the service launched in ... '92 from memory ... when I would have been in year 10 of high school. Great for teenagers with the munchies after a few cones ;) The local McDonalds in Toongabbie (in Western Sydney) did home delivery for about 6 months. Either that or KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken as it was still known back then) ... but I strongly feel it WAS Maccas. Wonder if their effort will last longer this time :)

    Last edited 13/02/15 2:41 pm

    Well this isnt surprising. Thats an unreasonably long wait for delivery though.

    This article has just confirmed my suspicions of home delivery Maccas.

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