Katia and Glenn Dwarte help James Dwarte and Renee Rodrigues dine in style at Warilla. Photo: Dave Tease
McDonald's Warilla is the first Maccas outlet in the world to offer plates, cutlery and table service with its dine-in meals.
The fast food giant’s global headquarters in Chicago has given the outlet the go-ahead to trial table service in a move that has gained international attention.
McDonald’s Warilla franchisees Glenn and Katia Dwarte came up with the idea after Mr Dwarte started serving his parents and mother-in-law meals that way during their weekly visits to the restaurant.
It immediately attracted the attention of other people who asked ‘‘How do I order that?’’
They took it a step further during a visit by McDonald’s Australia chief executive Catriona Noble just before Christmas when they pitched the idea and served her a meal with crockery and glassware.
Ms Noble thought it was such a good idea she contacted Chicago who gave the approval for a five-week trial which started on Monday.
Mrs Dwarte said the initial reaction from diners had been positive.
‘‘Most of the people who came in decided to try it,’’ she said.
‘‘Most were quite excited. We actually had a group of eight people who asked me to take a photo of them so they could put it on Facebook. We are also providing customer surveys so we can gauge the feedback.’’
Mr Dwarte said for the next month anyone ordering a Grand Angus, Big Mac or Chicken Deluxe meal to eat in on a Monday or Tuesday night between 5pm and 8pm at Warilla would have the option of having it delivered to their table with cutlery and on a plate.
McDonald’s Chicago headquarters has even designed and produced a flyer promoting the service.
It is not the first time the Dwartes have created overseas interest in their franchise innovations.
‘‘Last week we had a visit from two people from America who came to have a look at our mobile ordering trial where people can download an app on their iPhone and can place and pay for it before they get here,’’ Mr Dwarte said.
Mrs Dwarte said corporate staff from many countries had visited the restaurant to see how the mobile ordering trial system was working and she now expected even more visits from McDonald’s corporate staff.
‘‘They are quite keen to see if this [mobile ordering] will take off,’’ she said.
‘‘And they were certainly aware we were doing this trial.’’
The Dwartes have owned the Warilla restaurant for 20 years.
Mrs Dwarte has been involved with McDonald’s since 1978 when she started working at McDonald’s Warrawong, the first in Australia with a drive-through service. The couple are also franchisees at Warrawong and Stockland Shellharbour.