Usually when McDonald's asks "How many in your party?" they're making sure there won't be too many 8 year-olds in the ball pit for your kid's Happy Meal birthday. Not so in Sweden, which becomes the first country to have an online reservation service for more than 30 McDonald's locations nationwide. The convenient option (if your McDonald's is for some reason the go-to culinary hot spot) is part of a test phase of a partnership with online reservation service Bookatable.se.
The fast food chain has been subject to some publicity problems in Swedish media of late, including a spat of illnesses from one store and a cleaning solution-tainted cappuccino. In order to get back in the good graces of Swedes, the company has launched a new gourmet burger called the 'Nya Maestro Classic' in addition to teaming up with Bookatable.se to provide reservations via the web. The moves also point to McDonald's larger global effort to clean up their image and class things up a bit.
Whether it's culturally-specific flavors on the menu, or accommodating various types of transportation, the Golden Arches have been mixing quick meals with local identity for some time. Of course, on this side of the Atlantic, McDonald's knows what Americans want: all-day breakfast and burger pants that stretch.
While the ability to place a reservation is limited to this experiment in Sweden, other countries do offer table service as well. As much as we love to sit down and enjoy a Big Mac, given the cleanliness of most Mickey D's we'll just take our order to go.