Burger King to head North

POSSIBLE  SITE: Launceston's El  Centro service  station.
POSSIBLE SITE: Launceston's El Centro service station.

International fast food giant likely to move

in on Launceston as part of national push

International fast food giant Burger King is likely to develop a restaurant - service station outlet in central Launceston.

The company, which trades in most states as Hungry Jack's, is looking at Launceston as part of a major national expansion.

A Launceston restaurant complex could cost as much as $2 million.

The company's Australian head office in Sydney yesterday could not give details of any plans for Launceston, but said the operation would probably be franchised rather than run by Burger King itself.

It is understood that the Shell-owned El Centro service station site in Wellington St is one of several under consideration. Shell and Burger King have a number of joint developments in NSW and the ACT.

Burger King two years ago indicated that it planned five outlets for Tasmania _ two in Hobart and one each in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.

So far, only one Hobart site _ also a service station - restaurant venture _ has been developed, at a cost of $1.9 million.

However, that site, the first in Australia outside international air terminals to trade as Burger King, is understood to be performing better than expected, selling more than 2500 burgers a day.

Burger King adopted the Hungry Jack's title for Australia in 1971 when it found that the Burger King name had already been registered. It has recently bought back the name.

Hungry Jack's lodged plans with the Launceston City Council some time ago for a development on the former Shell service station site in Cimitiere St. However, the project was later dropped.

The El Centro site is one of the busiest service stations in Tasmania and, with heavy traffic flows in Wellington St, is regarded as a prime site for a fast food complex.

A Burger King centre could be the third major retailing outlet planned for Wellington St.

The Grand Central service station - supermarket, owned and developed by the Davies family, is likely to be expanded into the adjoining car showroom on the corner of Wellington and Frederick St.

Launceston Mitsubishi's lease on the showroom has expired and the company will vacate the site shortly.

The Davies family owns the site and will develop it, but at this stage is keeping its options open.

Launceston businessman Mort Douglas also plans a major redevelopment on the corner of Brisbane and Wellington streets.