McDonald’s insists it has ‘not forgotten’ about Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as it revealed when it will decide to reopen all drive-thru restaurants.
The fast food giant welcomed back 39 drive-thru branches in England and Ireland, although all the English locations are in the South East leaving thousands of Stokies disappointed.
The reopenings were announced as part of a phased approach that will slowly spread to the rest of the UK as businesses get back to work.
In a message to customers, McDonald’s chief executive Paul Pomroy explained why it has only reopened drive-thrus in the south – and said the burger chain has ‘not forgotten’ about areas like North Staffordshire.
Mr Pomroy wrote: “To help us test the new procedures and to slowly restart our supply chain, the pilot restaurants in the UK are all located close to our head office and to one of our distribution centres in the South East.
“We wanted to keep this group controlled and to test the impact of reopening multiple restaurants in one area first, instead of spreading ourselves too thinly and to make it easier for our employees and suppliers.
“I promise I have not forgotten about any part of the UK or Ireland. We are taking our time to test the new ways of working in our restaurants, ensuring that we can continue to help our teams to work safely, and to get back to the communities we have proudly served for so many years.”
Mr Pomroy revealed McDonald’s will make a further announcement this week about reopening drive-thrus and expanding its delivery service.
Ultimately, McDonald’s – which as 1,249 UK branches – aims to reopen all its drive-thru restaurants in June.
It was unable to state an exact date, but said it was in talks with restaurants to finalise the opening date.
McDonald’s has reopened with a limited menu in place to ensure staff can comply with social distancing measures.
This still includes fan favourites such as Big Macs and McNuggets – but breakfast has been temporarily scrapped.
Restaurants are also opening under reduced hours from 11am to 10pm.
And McDonald’s has also introduced a spending limit of £25 on all orders.
Mr Pomory’s letter states: “We will confirm the reopening timetable for all of our drive-thrus, alongside when and where we will increase the availability of McDelivery.
“Over the coming months, we will explore how to extend the menu, increase our opening hours and reintroduce those much-missed McMuffins at breakfast.”
It adds: “Thank you to those who have taken the time to contact us asking when your town can expect a return of the Big Mac, we are working on it, keep an eye on our website and social media channels next week for more news on this.”
One Stokie looking forward to the reopening is James Alcock, who said: “It always seems like Stoke-on-Trent is the last to get anything. I was shocked when the list came out and they were all in the south of the country.
“I was prepared to drive up to 50 miles to get one but that was even too far for me. I know a lot of people think I’m sad but I genuinely can’t wait for the Trent Vale branch to be back open.”
Martyn Bentley said: “It’s about time they reopened, let’s crack on, everywhere will be back to normal shopping-wise in a couple of weeks as well with a bit of luck.”
And Russ Lloyd added: “It’s about time they opened back up, I’m sick of cooking for the kids. It can’t come quick enough.”
However, not all StokeonTrentLive readers are looking forward to the reopening.
Les Oakes said: “How anyone can say they love this kind of food is beyond me. It’s cold, tasteless, and it’s point of origin is highly questionable. Not to mention the price! It says a lot about your state of wellbeing if you actually want to feed your family there.”
And Karen Harrigan said: “Two hours for a pile of rubbish food, get a life. You could buy some low fat mince and make some amazing ‘healthy’ burgers for a fraction of the price in that two hours you’ve sat in your cars.”