Review: Create Your Taste, McDonald’s Castle Hill

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll no doubt have heard that McDonald’s is trialing a new do-it-yourself concept store at their Castle Hill store in Sydney’s outer west. Titled “Create Your Taste”, the concept is designed to bring a more gourmet and interactive element to a fast food joint that I generally only visit for soft serves, french fries and hash browns when I have PMS. Crude, but true!

Of course, despite my usual apathy against McDonald’s, the curious cat in me simply had to try this new DIY concept so K and I drove out to Castle Hill one hot afternoon.


There are “Create Your Taste” signs all over the McDonald’s. It’s only five simple steps to make your own burger. Only five steps, it’s completely idiot-proof!


There’s two sleek kiosks on the left hand side of the main entrance. The touchscreen is easy enough to operate, and you’re taken through the five steps to Create Your Taste. You can choose the easy way out of course, and opt for one of their new ‘specialty build burgers’ which include the Homestyle Oz or the Chipotle.

I chose to create my own and gradually worked my way through the system, choosing my burger bun, number of patties, cheese, extra toppings, sauce, and whether or not I wanted to turn my final creation into a meal deal. As you finish placing your order, the system asks you to nominate a general seating area as well, so that the servers can find you easily in the restaurant.


After finding a table, you’re expected to attach your order docket to a little clipboard that now sits on all the tables in Castle Hill McDonalds. It’s a big change from McDonald’s usual modus operandi of having their customers hover around the counter waiting to pick up their meals. Ten minutes after I placed my order, my burger was delivered to my table by a fifteen-year-old who’s probably being grossly underpaid.


Nothing screams gourmet more than food being served on a wooden board, and fries served in a little wire holder. The plastic cup of frozen Coke spoils the effect somewhat, but just remember that it’s a gourmet artisan meal!


My burger was a bit extreme, I’ll admit that much. It’s a 100% Angus beef patty on a brioche bun with Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, egg, tomato, lettuce, pickles, caramelised grilled onions and chilli jam. Combined with a medium fries (I feel like what was in the wire basket was less than a usual serve of medium fries) and a medium frozen Coke, the whole meal cost $14.65, about 50% more than a usual McDonald’s value meal.

It was a surprisingly satisfying burger – a great combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavours. The sweetness of the brioche bun and caramelised onions worked really well with the salty bacon and crisp fresh lettuce. All in all I’d say it’s one of the better burgers I’ve eaten at a fast food joint – exceeding perhaps even Grilld’s offerings.

There are some pros to this DIY ordering system:

  • There’s more variety than what you would find on a standard McDonald’s menu – the number of extras and toppings is very impressive.
  • After you place your order, it tells you how many kilojoules is in your full meal. In my case, it was 2264kj for my meal – very useful information as I’m still counting kilojoules and technically watching what I eat.
  • Considering the customisation involved, it’s still not an expensive meal – $14.65 is pretty good considering it also comes with fries and a drink. Grill’d would charge a lot more.

On the flip side, there’s some definite cons as well:

  • Even though there’s only five steps, it did still take me about five minutes to go through and place my order, then ten minutes after that to receive the order. If all McDonald’s stores were to switch to using this system, it would take the “fast” out of “fast food”.
  • This isn’t helped by the fact that you can (as far as I could tell) only order one burger at a time, rather than continually adding burgers to the same order. This could mean that a family of four could spend twenty minutes standing at the kiosk ordering their burgers before finally getting to sit down and eat.
  • The system isn’t quite sophisticated enough to deal with intricacies of very specific orders.

The last point is probably the sticking point for me. What if for instance, I wanted three slices of Swiss cheese on my burger, instead of a single slice because I wanted it to be super cheesy? The system only allows you to choose the item, but not choose quantity, which seems to be an oversight. It’ll be interesting to see if they consider tweaking the system to allow customisation to that degree.

All in all, it was an interesting visit for the novelty factor alone. While I won’t be rushing back out to Castle Hill any time soon to try it again, I might consider it as an option in the same way as I would consider Grill’d for burgers, if the concept ends up getting rolled out across all McDonald’s stores.

12 thoughts on “Review: Create Your Taste, McDonald’s Castle Hill”

  1. I think it’s great to have the ability to customise your meal but if the ingredients are not that great (which is the case with Maccas IMO), the end result won’t be great either.

  2. Huh, what an interesting concept. How was the selection screen like? I wonder if it’s similar to their actual POS where it’s pretty easy to add however many ingredients you want and stuff. How were their onions? (Weird question, but the onions I worked with were dehydrated ones so I’m wondering if they changed their spec for this gourmet style.)

    So many questions, but hey at least the burger turned out good! :)

  3. Cool review! I’d heard about the new Maccas do-it-yourself burgers and wondering how it would work! (Also, nothing crude about PMS cravings!! You gotta listen to your body and if it says hash browns it says hash browns!!! :) )

    xox Sarah

  4. Since I live so close to Castle Hill I’ll probably wander by with the hubby to try this out but for $14 I feel like I could get a better meal elsewhere. It is interesting enough for us to try for just the novelty though.

  5. After trekking out to Castle Hill to try the new Gourmet Burgers everyone’s been talking about, I can honestly say that this was the best Macca’s experience I’ve ever had! You get to choose exactly what goes in the burger, the brioche bun was fresh and not crumbly, the fillings super tasty and the fries crispy in their cute basket. Ok, so there was a slight wait for it to be made which makes you re-evaluate the “fast” in fast food but let’s put this into context…it was still convenient, faster than making it myself, delivered to my table and the ordering process pretty efficient….isn’t convenience really what Macca’s is all about? I will definitely be returning and I never thought I’d say that!!!!

  6. I love the idea! However at my nearest location in SE Wisconsin the options are so limited…no real special ingredients besides guacamole. No eggs or pineapple here like I had heard about. I was satisfied with the new buns though!

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