Three decades of lovin’ NI – McDonald’s marks 30 years in Northern Ireland

Posted By:
Lanyon Group

22nd Dec 2021

McDonald’s UK and Ireland is celebrating 30 years since the opening of its first restaurant in Northern Ireland.

Since opening its Bradbury Place restaurant in 1991, McDonald’s has grown to employ over 3,200 crew at its 33 restaurants across Northern Ireland, operated by seven local Franchises. A further 4,000 jobs are supported through its local supply chain here.

McDonald’s contributes over £100million to the Northern Ireland economy every year, with over £26million spent directly with local farmers for produce such as beef and milk, as well as sourcing from local suppliers – including Dawn Meats, Huhtamaki, Kerry Group and Moy Park.

The business also invests in a wide range of charitable and community initiatives across Northern Ireland, including its flagship grassroots football partnership with the Irish Football Association.  The partnership recently celebrated a major milestone, having delivered 250,000 hours of free coaching, fun and games to 75,000 children in Northern Ireland through the Fun Football Programme.

Commending McDonald’s for the “significant impact” it has had on the local economy and communities across Northern Ireland over the past 30 years, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Paul Givan MLA, said:

“It’s a pleasure to celebrate the 30th anniversary of McDonald’s restaurants in Northern Ireland. This is a global brand that makes a real difference to local lives.

“I’m pleased that many of Northern Ireland’s high-quality products are used in McDonald’s restaurants right across the globe, highlighting all that is good about our local produce. I applaud McDonald’s for their commitment to local sourcing and for the ongoing support that they give to local agri-food processors.

“Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector contributes £2.6billion to Gross Value Added and has a total impact of around £4.9bn to our economy, supporting a workforce of 113,000 jobs. It is not in our economic interest to have our local suppliers disadvantaged, and everything continues to be done to ensure no additional burdens will be placed on local companies negatively affecting their competitiveness.”

A Franchisee in Northern Ireland for almost 30 years, John McCollum operates seven of McDonald’s restaurants here – including one of its longest established at Sprucefield and one of its newest at McKinstry Road, opened in October 2020.

He attributed the success of the McDonald’s business in Northern Ireland to its 3,200-strong crew, its local suppliers and its local communities.

“Our restaurants across Northern Ireland are brimming with superb talent,” he said.  “Our crew is made up of outstanding individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds, all working as a team to ensure our customer has a brilliant experience every time they visit a restaurant, drive-thru or order a delivery from us.

“As a business, we’re passionate about where our food comes from and we celebrate our commitment to our suppliers in Northern Ireland, who play a critical role in producing some of our most iconic menu items and building trust in the quality and provenance of McDonald’s food,” he continued.  “It’s thanks to them that our customers in Northern Ireland can enjoy great food from local farmers and producers, produced to an exceptionally high standard, just around the corner.

“As Franchisees and crew, our greatest privilege is feeding and fostering the local communities in which we operate our restaurants – be that through supporting local on-the-ground causes and initiatives, our daily litter picks, our Fun Football programmes with the Irish FA, or simply welcoming the same familiar local faces through our doors, week in week out.

“We are hugely appreciative of the continued loyalty and support of our suppliers, community partners, customers and crew over the past 30 years, and very much look forward to continuing partnering with them to build upon the impact of the McDonald’s business in Northern Ireland over the next 30.”

McDonald’s UK and Ireland recently launched its Plan for Change – a comprehensive business and sustainability strategy to help it achieve its aim of net zero emissions across its entire UK and Ireland business by 2040. The plan sets out ambitious goals and actions across its four key areas – Planet, People, Restaurants and Food – to ensure the business leads positive change from farms to front counter.

Des Lamph, McDonald’s longest-serving Franchisee in Northern Ireland and owner operator of 11 restaurants locally, said: “McDonald’s has a long history of taking action where it really matters to the communities we serve, here in Northern Ireland and right across the globe.  Through our Plan for Change, we’re accelerating our ambition and working even harder to look after each other and the planet.

“The Plan is a key business priority for us and sets out steps we’re taking both now, and in the future, alongside clear deadlines and commitments as we look to go further to support the planet the local communities we serve.  By changing a little, we can change a lot and we know that our Plan for Change will stand us in good stead for the next 30 years in Northern Ireland.”