Supermac's continues the charge to end the race to the bottom for fast food in Ireland, by continuing to take the public's need for transparency and provenance into account.
Supermac’s is Ireland's largest indigenous fast food restaurant group with a policy of continued expansion and growth. While many similar restaurants largely stick to the menu of burgers and fries, Supermac's retains its edge and grows by diversifying and constantly updating its offerings. The first Supermac’s opened its door in 1978 on Main Street, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Since that first opening, Supermac’s has grown steadily, and its restaurants have become a firm fixture in towns and cities around Ireland. There is always one nearby when you have a hankering for a Mighty Mac, even on the Aran Islands. Last year Supermac’s opened eight new restaurants throughout Ireland as part of its expansion plans, including Tipperary, Drogheda, Clonshaugh, and Ballacolla. The business is also involved in more than 100 community initiatives and sponsorships around Ireland.
The sandwich counters provide further healthy options in the fast food outlets throughout Ireland with a range of subs, wraps, soups, and salads, all made with good quality ingredients. While other lunchtime sandwiches are made in a central kitchen in Dublin and distributed by delivery van to chiller cabinets in shops and petrol stations, the SuperSub sandwich is assembled in front of you with pre-weighed ingredients. All meats, cheese, and vegetables are freshly prepared daily and Supermac's caters for customers who may be coeliac or gluten intolerant, with calories for each item clearly printed in the leaflet. You can get anything from a burrito to a pizza to an ice cream cone in Supermac's.
The recent introduction of the first 100 per cent fresh beef burger was its latest innovation. This is the first fresh meat burger available in a quick service food chain in Ireland. As with all fast food chains products, consistency is the key. They use premium cuts of Irish beef, an exacting mix of short rib, brisket, chuck, and steak, on a soft, seeded Kaiser roll. They are never frozen and the burger is cooked to order every time. They have overcome all potential challenges which serving a fresh beef burger in prime condition to customers could possibly present. The feedback on the product has been extremely positive with sales outstripping those of the traditional frozen product.
Similarly the new fresh chicken breast sandwich is 100 per cent fresh Irish chicken breast. From a real chicken farm. In Ireland. The fillets are tenderised in a similar way to steak and delivered daily to the stores. They are breaded individually by hand in egg wash and seasoned flour and pressure cooked to order. Add crispy iceberg, signature sauce, and a Kaiser bun, delicious!
Supermac's is committed to the support of Irish farmers, and the company's spend spans across a wide range of producers including chicken, dairy, and vegetables. It is rolling out a plan to replace frozen beef and chicken products with fresh in all of its restaurants, which is good news for the 320,000 customers who walk through the doors of Supermac’s restaurants every week.
Thousands of tonnes of meat products from as far afield as China and Brazil are shipped in to Ireland each year, despite the country producing easily enough to feed its own residents. A 2012 Safefood report estimated 90 per cent of chicken meat used in the catering industry came from outside Ireland, and a significant volume of cooked chicken meat came from outside the EU. Fish is frozen and flown across the world, then branded as Irish. Consumers are given little information about where the meat making it into their pre-processed meals comes from, with only some fresh products required to carry country-of-origin labelling. Fresh and frozen beef currently carries the requirement in Ireland, a rule which was brought in after the BSE crisis.
But why must we wait for a crisis for things to change? Surveys have consistently shown people want to know where their meat comes from, particularly after the 2013 horsemeat scandal. Some people choose to only buy food from Ireland because they want to support the local economy, while others make choices based on ethical or environmental reasons. Maybe one day there will come a time when consumers will be able to make informed shopping decisions from clear information that promotes confidence in the food chain. Until that day arrives, there's always Supermac's.