Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Making sure it stays fast food......

A spokeswoman for McDonald's has recently commented on a new policy that they have in force at their British restaurants. She added that signs and leaflets explaining the policy have been posted and given out as well.

It seems that too many people aren't comprehending what "fast food" is and are lingering in their parking lots while eating. To combat this, they have placed a 45 minute limit on staying in the parking lot and it is being enforced by a private company that manages their lots now. The company, Civil Enforcement manages the lots for several other companies as well and is using number plate recognition cameras to log when people enter and leave.

The company obtains information about the registered owner of the vehicle from the DVLA and they then send off a letter. The owner is fined 125 pounds for a first offense, 75 pounds if it is paid off quickly but if they refuse to pay, the fine rises and they are threatened with court action.

Civil Enforcement operates approximately 700 parking lots and states that they issues a considerable number of tickets a year. Those tickets have included an elderly couple who evidently took too long doing their Christmas shopping at the grocery store and Jamie Thomson, who spent too much time enjoying his meal and coffee one day.

He was surprised to receive a letter in the mail that he had violated the 45 minute parking limit at a Gatwick England McDonald's recently. When he asked for photographic proof of his offense, he was told that he would have to pay for the photo. He contacted the DVLA as well to ask why they had released the information to a private company and was told that they would do that for a company that had a reasonable cause to ask for it.

McDonald's though seems to have washed their hands of the outrage by stating that Civil Enforcement profits from the tickets, not the restaurant. They added that tickets are only issued in extreme cases of overstaying the parking limit.

Thomson's fine has risen to 213 pounds now and he has been threatened with court action over it. It doesn't surprise me though that he states no one in his family will eat again at a McDonald's restaurant because of this policy.

It seems to me that they have come upon a rather strange way to improve their customer service.............. take your time and enjoy our meal, just not on our property.