McDonald's boss says UK expansion stalled by planning delays

19 June 2023 by
McDonald's boss says UK expansion stalled by planning delays

The chief executive of McDonald's UK division has said its expansion is being stalled due to delays in Britain's planning system.

Alistair Macrow told the Telegraph the fast-food chain was facing waits of up to three years to open new restaurants due to long-winded bureaucracy.

"The planning timeline in this country for us has on average increased by 55 weeks since Covid," he said.

"Today it takes us pretty much three years from the moment that we approve a new site to open. Of those three years, only 43 weeks are within our control, the rest is outside of it."

UKHospitality has long called for a reduction in planning red tape, while presenter Jeremy Clarkson has lost his latest bid to open a restaurant at his Diddly Squat Farm in a long-running dispute with West Oxfordshire District Council.

McDonald's opened in the UK in 1974 and now trades from more than 1,450 restaurants and employs over 135,000 people in the UK and Ireland.

In 2021, it announced plans to hire 20,000 more staff and open up to 150 new high street restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

However, the company has not been immune to the impact of rising inflation. Last summer it raised the price of its cheeseburger for the first time in over 14 years and in February increased the prices of five key products, including the Bacon double cheeseburger and Mayo chicken burger.

Macrow did not rule out further price rises at the chain, and told the Telegraph: "Inflation is inflation. We can't change that.

"We're sitting here and you can have a hot burger, fries and a drink served to your table for £3.99. I don't know too many [businesses] able to do a better job."

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