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McDonald’s looks to create pipeline of property talent

A McCafe drive-thru in Australia, where the concept was created. Supplied.

With $500 million to be spent on new restaurants and refurbishments over the next three years, McDonald’s Australia has established a new property graduate program to create a pipeline of future property leaders within the organisation.

The fast food chain recently announced the names of the program’s first successful applicants, and it is currently accepting applications for the 2020 intake. Applications close on Sunday, May 12.

The two-year program provides training in relevant fields, including real estate, construction, design and asset management, and hands-on guidance from experienced mentors in McDonald’s national development team, which maintains a portfolio of over 980 restaurants across Australia.

Tom Veale, development director of the southern region at McDonald’s Australia, told Inside Retail the program is an important part of the fast food chain’s commitment to new restaurant growth.

“McDonald’s is committed to new restaurant growth and we wanted to create an opportunity for young talent to come in and grow with our business, developing future property leaders,” he said.

Competitive advantage in challenging property climate

At a time when many retail and hospitality businesses are looking to “right-size” their store footprints, talented property leaders may very well be a competitive advantage.

“McDonald’s prides itself on developing and promoting talent and we have so many great people in the system to learn from to give graduates a great kick start to their career,” Veale said.

“Training graduates allows us to set up a strong pipeline for future success, creating the business leaders of tomorrow.”

Besides its new property graduate program, McDonald’s Australia also offers a Diploma qualification through its management development program and Certificate II and III in Retail Services.

“Macca’s is a starting point into the work force for so many young people and, in many instances, turns into a long-term career,” Lisa Apthorpe, director of people and culture at McDonald’s Australia, said.

“Our aim is to set youngsters up with skills for life and a great foundation that gives them the opportunity to build a great career, whether that’s with McDonald’s or externally.”

Participants in the property graduate program will have the opportunity to continue in a permanent role within McDonald’s Australia upon completion.

Standout performer globally

McDonald’s Australia was recently highlighted as a standout performer in the company’s announcement of its Q1 earnings. McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook reported a 5.4 per cent increase in the company’s global comparable sales, and US$4.96 billion (A$7.09 billion) in revenue.

This reflected the global company’s 15th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth, but it was 20th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth for McDonald’s Australia, Easterbrook pointed out.

He attributed the business’s success to its pioneering initiatives, such as McCafe, which was born in Melbourne in 1993 and is now available in countries all around the world, and delivery via Uber Eats.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s Australia told Inside Retail the focus has always been on running great restaurants and providing customers with the best possible dining experience.

“We do this by getting the basics right and innovating in ways our customers want, including through delivery and digital,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re a customer-driven business; everything – from the food we serve, to the design and facilities in our restaurants – is in response to their needs and is focused on providing the best possible dining experience.

“We will continue to expand our delivery and digital offerings, as well as grow by investing approximately $500 million in new restaurants and refurbishments over the next three years.”

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