The new McDonald’s in Alnwick will open its doors to customers for the first time tomorrow morning.
The fast-food giant’s new outlet, at Cawledge and adjacent to the A1, will start trading at 10.30am and the occasion will be marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony carried out by the Mayor of Alnwick, Bill Grisdale.
The new drive-thru restaurant, which has created more than 60 jobs, will feature one of the corporation’s new state-of-the-art designs and offer digital menu boards as well as tablet computers on some tables for customers to enjoy while they dine.
It will be one of the first McDonald’s in the area to offer customers the option to use either the traditional till services or new self-order kiosks, allowing them to browse the entire menu and check out the nutritional information of each meal at the same time. Once customers have completed their order, they can pay swiftly by card or contactless technology and then go straight to a designated area of the counter to pick up their order.
In the kitchens, new layouts and increased technology means food will be made specially to order for customers, with every burger and wrap freshly prepared.
McDonald’s business manager Lee Marshall, who started off as a crew member 16 years ago while at university and has since progressed to management, said: “We’re very excited that the new restaurant is finally opening after all the hard work and build-up. I am excited to take on the role of business manager here in Alnwick and get to know all our new customers in the local area.
“As a business, it is really important for us to invest in the local community; this could be as simple as litter-picking events or supporting local grassroots football, so you can be sure to see more of this in the future.”
The Gazette first reported the possibility of a McDonald’s opening in Alnwick in January last year. A poll on our website at that time showed a narrow majority in favour of the food firm coming to the town. More than 6,000 people lodged their votes with 54 per cent in support of McDonald’s opening and 46 per cent against.
The possibility became a concrete reality when a planning application was lodged in September 2014 and approved that November. Construction work started in the summer.
The scheme coming to fruition will please many after an earlier aborted attempt for a restaurant in the town. In early 2001, the corporation received planners’ approval from Alnwick District Council for its initial application for a restaurant at the Willowburn site, alongside the then under-construction sports centre. In September that year, McDonald’s announced that problems with access meant work was unlikely to begin before the following year, a delay which prompted some people to query whether the chain would ever come to Alnwick. And despite a new application, for a 60-seat restaurant with a drive-thru facility, it remained elusive until last year.