McDonald’s said more than 1,000 new jobs will be created as a result of the new outlets and its move into barista-made coffee in its McCafe restaurants, and the company expects the move to generate $38m in construction investment.
The move comes at a tricky time for McDonald’s in Australia, with sales declining 7.3% in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa operation, of which Australia is a part, in the past quarter. Don Thompson, chief executive of McDonald’s, described the Australian market as weak.
McDonald’s has also faced headaches on a local level, with some residents in the Victorian town of Tecoma mounting a vigorous campaign earlier this year in an attempt to prevent an outlet opening in the area. A spokeswoman said it would be “business as usual” in the company’s approach to opening the new outlets.
The Victorian government said it welcomed the McDonald’s investment in the state, just a day after the launch of a new publicly-funded anti-obesity campaign. The graphic campaign, which shows layers of fat attached to people’s organs with a warning of premature death, is an attempt to address the fact that two thirds of Victorians are overweight or obese.
Michael O’Brien, Victoria’s treasurer, dismissed any conflict between the expansion of McDonald’s and the campaign.
“We support everything in moderation,” he said. “It’s part of the government’s health campaign. There are foods that you have sometimes and we’re very proud to stand with McDonald’s in this great investment, creating 1,000 new jobs for Victorians by the end of this year.”
Mahassen Haddad, McDonald’s Victoria market director, added: “We offer so many young Australians what is often their first job and provide an unmatched opportunity for our people to realise the power of their potential. Indeed, I started my own career at McDonald’s as a teenager.”
The new outlets are to be built in Lucas, Carrum Downs, Craigieburn North, Traralgon East, Clayton South, Langwarrin, Officer and Lara.
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