Though still very much a construction site, from 6am Wednesday locals looking for food on the go will have a renewed, but familiar, destination.
The new South Launceston McDonald’s will open it’s doors and drive-thru for the first time Wednesday, the latest development in what has been an expansion over two years in the making.
Jim Magliarditi, McDonald’s area operations manager, said the new restaurant would open in a restricted capacity to begin with as the finishing touches were made.
Customers will be able to drive through and walk in all the same, Mr Magliarditi said.
The $5 million project, licenced by franchisee Steven Nicholas, includes plans to replace the existing restaurant with a larger car park.
Expanding over a block of land next door – originally the site of VIP Sheds – the Howick Street site will also include two-storeys of modern play equipment, improved ordering facilities, and a significant increase on the current store footprint.
The drive-thru will also include new waiting bays to ensure fast delivery of food and address bottleneck issues currently experienced.
Demolition work on the old site next door will continue as the new store begins operations, with the drive-thru snaking behind the new store to link up with it’s previous path.
More than 50 jobs were expected to be created by the upgrade.
Plans for the drive-thru were then re-advertised for public comment in February last year after the City of Launceston council requested further information about the new electronic menus, set to operate at all hours and change six times per day.
Steven Nicholas opened his first McDonalds store at Kings Meadows in 1991, going on to open the Invermay Store in 1993 and the South Launceston site in 1996.
At the time, the McDonald’s board had concerns about the new market.
Twenty-six years later, they run seven stores across the North and North-West, and have invested up to $10 million in Launceston for upgrades.
Previously Mr Nicholas has explained the restaurant re-imaging as an ongoing process since the introduction of McCafe in 2004.
“It’s a five to seven year program that we have to continue to revitalise and renovate our restaurants,” he said.
“It’s an expensive process, but something that we need to do to continue to be relevant and continue to modernise the experience for our customers.”