New-look McDonalds gets the mayoral seal of approval

Business Manager Marina McWalter and franchise owner Mark Richards help Clinton Chisholm and his dad

Business Manager Marina McWalter and franchise owner Mark Richards help Clinton Chisholm and his dad Mayor Glen Chisholm make a Big Mac during a visit to the refurbished McDonalds in Cardinal Park. - Credit: Su Anderson

The first new-look McDonald’s restaurant in Ipswich has been officially launched by the town’s mayor – heralding the start of a major revamp by local franchisee Mark Richards.

The Cardinal Park restaurant and takeaway has had new electronic boards installed so customers can order and pay for food without necessarily queuing at the counter.

All the food is now cooked to order – burgers are no longer kept wrapped and warm on a hot plate until they are bought by customers.

The changes have also opened up the kitchen so customers can see their meal being prepared.

Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm and his consort – son Clinton – joined Mr Richards to open the new restaurant, and even tried his hand at Making a Big Mac.

Mr Richards has worked with McDonald’s for 30 years and been a franchisee for 21. He now owns all five franchises in Ipswich, employing 400 people, and 12 branches in all employing nearly 1,000 staff.

He said the company had changed in that time, and the latest revamp had carried on that process.

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“When I started it was just a few burgers. I don’t even think there was any chicken on the menu!” He said.

“Now with the wi-fi we offer and the really good coffee it is much more than just a burger takeaway.”

There is an emphasis on healthy eating – with nutritional information available to customers.

McDonald’s was one of the first companies to introduce wi-fi to all its restaurants, a move that has been followed by many other chains over recent years, and the changes at Cardinal Park see a number of computer terminals installed to allow customers to stay connected even if they have left their tablets at home.

The Cardinal Park revamp is the biggest investment McDonald’s has ever made in Ipswich – and will be followed by similar work at Mr Richard’s restaurants in the town centre, Ravenswood, Ranelagh Road, and Whitehouse over the next two years.

Over the next few years there could be more changes with customers able to order their meal by a phone app before they arrive through the door.

Mr Chisholm said he was delighted to be supporting an important business for the local economy.

He said: “McDonald’s provides a significant number of jobs – including good training and apprenticeship opportunities. It is a business that is an important part of the town.”