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Why are fast food chains reopening Ipswich restaurants first?

PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:48 14 May 2020

Costa Drive Thru at Ransomes Euro Park in Ipswich had to close on the first day of reopening due to queuees. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Costa Drive Thru at Ransomes Euro Park in Ipswich had to close on the first day of reopening due to queuees. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Various fast food chains have announced the tentative reopening of takeaway services in the UK and surprisingly Ipswich is one of the select few locations to be chosen by a number of industry giants including McDonalds, Costa and KFC.

McDonalds at Cardinal Park Ipswich reopened on Thursday May 14.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMcDonalds at Cardinal Park Ipswich reopened on Thursday May 14. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fast-food fans have been waiting since the March to get a fix of their favourite fare – but now that they have the option to get one, how will it effect us all?

McDonalds at Cardinal Park has re-opened for delivery, the Burger King drive-thru in West End Road has reopened with the Copdock drive-thru to follow on Monday, May 18, and Costa Coffee opened at the Euro Retail Park on Saturday, May 2.

More: Traffic chaos as Burger King and KFC reopen in Ipswich

KFC at Cardinal Park opened for deliveries in mid April.

Jim Manning, secretary at the Whitton Youth Partnership, is concerned that parents who struggle to cook a meal at home will be flocking to the newly opened fast food outlets to provide for their children who are off school.

“It is interesting we have been chosen but it does indicate that the people of Ipswich must have shown an interest in having fast food – clearly it is an area where it is worth doing.”

He added: “In small doses fast food is not always bad however takeaways are often expensive and not always healthy.”

He fears that re-opening these outlets gives families an ‘easy option’.

Whitton Youth Partnership secretary Jim Manning thinks parents who struggle to cook will turn to fast food during lockdown. Picture: SIMON LEE/SCFWhitton Youth Partnership secretary Jim Manning thinks parents who struggle to cook will turn to fast food during lockdown. Picture: SIMON LEE/SCF

“If you struggle to cook and put food on the table, now you have that alternative option again – but if you can cook, then you should cook.”

The partnership usually runs activities which teach children and parents how to cook nutritious meals, but the lockdown has isolated many of the families they work hard to help and left them to fend for themselves.

Mr Manning added: “We can’t teach people how to cook right now and we need to break this cycle so young people learn.”

Maureen Reynel, founder of Families In Need, shares Mr Manning’s concerns about the lack of nutrition fast food and takeaway meals have to offer families but doesn’t think the families relying on her charity will be the ones able to afford the reopened services.

The Burger King in West End Road, Ipswich, has reopened for drive thru and delivery orders Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Burger King in West End Road, Ipswich, has reopened for drive thru and delivery orders Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It will be a quick snack for most and it certainly isn’t food which can go in the store cupboards,” she said.

“The money will soon run out for any families who turn to fast food and it’s only for those who have the money to own a vehicle to get themselves there anyway.”

When Costa Coffee at the Euro Retail Park opened on May 2, it was forced to close down again within hours due to the massive queue of traffic which stretched back to the Sainsbury’s roundabout.

Though the site did reopen the next day the drive-thru lane remained closed.

Maureen Reynel, Founder and CEO of FIND (Families in Need) Ipswich is unsure about the impact of the fast food restaurants reopening. Picture: Neil DidsburyMaureen Reynel, Founder and CEO of FIND (Families in Need) Ipswich is unsure about the impact of the fast food restaurants reopening. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Mrs Reynel has shared her concerns about the increased traffic and footfall from the services and the threat of further a coronavirus outbreaks it brings.

She added: “It’s just an excuse to go out, another reason to get out of the house.

“I know they want to keep people in their jobs but the situation at Costa proves this is a novelty – the re-openings certainly won’t change the number of people coming to us for help.”

However, Mr Manning acknowledged the benefits of the fast food chains reopening as they provide another escape from the home.

KFC was one of the first fast food chains to reopen in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNKFC was one of the first fast food chains to reopen in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It is something to help us cope with this dire situation which we know is effecting mental health and domestic abuse especially.”

A spokesman for KFC confirmed the company is operating on a case by case basis when it comes to their restaurants to ensure it is done responsibly and said: “Ipswich was no exception. We’re happy to be back and hope we can continue to spread our wings further soon.”

A spokesman for McDonald’s explained that the Ipswich restaurant was reopened due to it’s proximity to the distribution centre.

She added: “Rest assured we are working hard to reopen more restaurants across the UK and Ireland at the right time.”


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