Families are incredibly important to McDonald's and we're delighted and proud to be part of the Mumsnet Family Friendly programme.
In each of our 1,200 restaurants we provide high chairs and baby changing facilities and mums are also welcome to breastfeed.
We also provide activities to make each restaurant visit more fun for all the family, including balloons, colouring sheets, crayons and paper giveaways such as character masks or card games all themed to the current Happy Meal promotion and the majority of our restaurants even receive a visit from Ronald McDonald at least once a year.
We are constantly looking to go that extra mile for families and this year we launched 'Activity Days' aiming to bring to life the current Happy Meal with themed games and fun activities. This programme will run over select weekends and school holidays in over 300 of our most popular family restaurants.
Birthday Parties are also offered in some of our restaurants. They are held in a reserved area and there is a fully trained party entertainer whose responsibility it is to run the party and keep the children entertained throughout.
Our food and our Happy Meals
Our Happy Meals are very popular with families and we are always working hard to broaden the choice of food and drink options for kids, introducing new items such as fruit bags, carrot sticks, orange juice and bottles of organic milk over recent years. Last year, we launched a new drink for kids called Fruitzz – a fun, fizzy treat with no added sugar, artificial colours or flavours that also offers children one of their five-a-day.
We also look for ways to reinforce positive food messages and try to do our bit to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables by branding them with popular licensed characters and by supporting the Government's five-a-day campaign.
In January we announced an exciting, long-term campaign to put millions of popular books into the hands of families and help make reading fun for kids. We are working with publishers, retailers and literacy organisations such as the National Literacy Trust to achieve our goal of handing out at least 15 million fiction and non-fiction books to families across the UK by 2015.
Our restaurant designs
Having acknowledged the evolution of the eating-out experience for the family we are constantly striving to make our restaurants more appealing to families and have recently launched an innovative new restaurant design called 'Spirit of Family' that incorporates a number of elements aimed at enhancing the overall restaurant experience. It has been developed to reduce the stress of eating out families tell us they often feel when dining out of the home.
Key advantages of the new concept derive from the incorporation of new technology such as a digital display which gives parents a one-stop assistance point which can be used to make an order and take a high chair as well as collect condiments. The design also incorporates other technological elements like self-order kiosks, iPad stations and motion-sensitive gaming tables, which help to keep children entertained at mealtimes so that the overall experience is enriched for the whole family.
The McDonald's organisation and all of our restaurants support the independent charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides free 'home away from home' accommodation to families with children in hospital. Many of our restaurant teams raise money for the charity through a variety of different fundraising activities and all restaurants have collection boxes through which our customers donate over £3 million each year in spare change.
Internally, we offer employees support and advice during pregnancy and motherhood and we provide a flexible working environment and childcare vouchers to help mothers fit their jobs around their family life. We also provide clear information around our maternity and flexible working policies via our intranet.
In addition to our flexible working arrangements we also offer nationally recognised qualifications including A-Level equivalent qualifications and Apprenticeships, which enables people, young and old, to study while they work and earn a valuable, transferable qualification to take forwards as they progress their career either at McDonald's or elsewhere.