McDonald's New Zealand

McDonald's Restaurants (New Zealand) Limited[1] (also using the trading name "Macca's"[2]) is the New Zealand subsidiary of the international fast food restaurant chain McDonald's. Its first location opened in 1976.[4] McDonald's New Zealand currently has over 160 restaurants operating nationwide,[5] serving an estimated one million people each week.[2] McDonald's Restaurants NZ earned revenues of over $250 million in the 2018 financial year.[6]

McDonald's Restaurants (New Zealand) Limited
GenreFast food
Founded4 November 1975 (incorporation)[1]
7 June 1976 (first restaurant)
Greenlane, Auckland
Number of locations
Increase 167 (as of 2017)[2][3]
Area served
New Zealand
Key people
David Howse (Managing Director)[2]
ParentMcDonald's Corporation
SubsidiariesGeorgie Pie

As with McDonald's locations worldwide, the franchise primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, fish, wraps, smoothies, and fruit. The company also operates the Georgie Pie and McCafé chains within many of its stores; through the latter McDonald's is the largest coffee shop brand in the country.[7]

McDonald's New Zealand operations are based in Greenlane, Auckland.[8]



New Zealand's first McDonald's restaurant, Porirua, 1976

The first McDonald's restaurant in New Zealand opened on Cobham Court in central Porirua on Monday 7 June 1976, however it was not officially opened until the following Saturday. The original menu featured the Big Mac (75 cents), Quarter Pounder (65c), Quarter Pounder with Cheese (75c), Filet-O-Fish (65c), cheeseburger (40c) and hamburger (30c).[9]

Problems were encountered opening the restaurant due to strict import laws at the time, which limited importing of overseas products that could be produced in New Zealand. The kitchen for the Porirua restaurant was imported on the condition that it was to allow local companies to reproduce it, and it was to be sent back after 12 months. However, the kitchen had been cemented into the floor and removing parts of it while still maintaining the restaurant operation meant it was impossible. The New Zealand affiliate eventually negotiated with the Corporation to import more kitchens in exchange for a large surplus of cheese the New Zealand Dairy Board (now Fonterra) had.[10]

Once the Porirua restaurant was open, there were additional problems with the supply chain, with frequent industrial unrest often shutting down suppliers without warning for weeks on end. An industrial dispute shut down the bun supplier in mid-1976, resulting in McDonald's staff having to drive all over Wellington to find substitute buns, and then cutting the sesame seed buns for the Big Mac using two bandsaws placed side-by-side.[11] Beef patties were initially supplied from the Gear Meat Company in Petone, although supply was haphazard until a purpose-built meat forming machine was acquired in 1977. Like many other companies at the time, Gear Meat was plagued by industrial unrest and closed down without warning in 1982, leaving McDonald's to import beef patties from Australia. The affiliate acquired Gear Meat's patty-forming machine and moved it to Auckland to secure production.[12] By coincidence, part of Gear Meat's former site now contains a McDonald's restaurant.

The Auckland Savings Bank Building on Queen Street, Auckland CBD, pictured in 2008. It has contained a McDonalds restaurant since 1977.

The second New Zealand restaurant opened in the old Auckland Savings Bank Building on Queen Street, Auckland in July 1977. Restaurants in New Lynn and Lower Hutt opened in 1978, being the first with drive-throughs. By the end of the decade, restaurants had also opened in Takapuna, Henderson, and Courtenay Place (central Wellington).[13]


Expansion in the first ten years was initially limited to the North Island. The first South Island restaurants opened on 3 November 1987 at Merivale and Linwood in Christchurch.[14] Problems finding franchisees meant the opening of the third restaurant at Riccarton was delayed until later, while the franchisees of the Whangarei restaurant transferred south to the Merivale restaurant on the possibility of a second restaurant in the future. Both restaurants almost broke worldwide opening day records, just losing the title due to a poor exchange rate.[15]


DC-3 plane attached to the McDonald's restaurant in Taupo (pictured in 2007)

In 1990, McDonald's purchased a former car yard site for its Taupo restaurant, which opened in November that year. The site came with a decommissioned Douglas DC-3 aircraft, complete with intact cockpit. The plane has become a tourist landmark, and now contains a seating area for diners.[16][17]

The 50th New Zealand McDonald's restaurant opened in 1991 at Chartwell Square Mall, Hamilton. The 100th restaurant opened five years later at the Auckland University of Technology. Breakfast meals were introduced in the same year, first at the Auckland Queen Street restaurant before expanding nationally.[4]

McDonald's purchased the fast-food chain Georgie Pie from Progressive Enterprises in 1996. The Georgie Pie chain closed in 1998, with half of the 32 restaurants converting to McDonald's and the remainder sold off.[18] In 1998, New Zealand's first McCafé opened in the Queen Street restaurant.[4]

From 1997 to 1999 the company endorsed McDonald's Young Entertainers, a televised talent show for young New Zealanders.[19]


In 2004, the Happy Meal children's menu celebrated 25 years since its introduction in 1979. In the same year, nutrition labelling was introduced to packaging on McDonald's core menu items.[4]

In 2009, the original Porirua McDonald's restaurant in Cobham Court closed, replaced by a new restaurant with drive-through a short distance away in Kenepuru Drive.[20]


In May 2013, McDonald's announced it would bring Georgie Pie back on a trial basis, selling a single pie flavour through several McDonald's restaurants in the Upper North Island. Later in October, it announced it would roll out Georgie Pie to all McDonald's restaurants nationwide, excluding those who could not accommodate the necessary equipment.[21]

Create your tasteEdit

In 2014 McDonald's introduced 'Create Your Taste' to New Zealand. The customer creates a gourmet burger from scratch on the touch-screen "kiosk" and the burger, fries and drink are delivered to them at their table. A related competition invited customers to submit their burger creations to the McDonald's website and relied on users to vote for their favourite design. The competition was pulled in July 2016 after website users created burgers with offensive names.[22]

All Day BreakfastEdit

Following the United States and Australia, McDonald's launched the All Day Breakfast menu in New Zealand on May 4, 2016. The menu consists of a limited range of breakfast products, which are:

  • Hotcakes
  • Hashbrown
  • NYC and BLT Bagels
  • Bacon and Egg McMuffin
  • Chicken McMuffin
  • Chicken and Bacon McMuffin

40th AnniversaryEdit

McDonald's celebrated 40 years in New Zealand on 7 June 2016; the Queen Street Auckland restaurant marked the anniversary with 1970s retro service and items on the original menu sold at their 1976 prices.[23] At that date, McDonald's had 166 restaurants operating in New Zealand; a 167th restaurant at Silverstream, Upper Hutt was closed awaiting rebuilding after it caught fire in February 2016.[24]

Te Reo MāoriEdit

In 2018, the Hastings restaurant became the first in the country to offer a menu written in te reo Māori.[25]

Happy Meal Reader's Program (2019)Edit

In February 2019, McDonald’s extended its global Happy Meal Reader’s Program to New Zealand where they replaced the Happy Meal toys with books to encourage reading among children. They announced to give away 800,000 copies of Roald Dahl books over the course of 12 months, where they will introduce a new book each month.[26][27]


McDonald's announced McDelivery, a delivery service, would start being trialed in Auckland starting 20 July 2016 in New Lynn and Glenfield. All deliveries will require a $25 order and incur a $7.50 delivery fee.[28]


The McDonald's Kiwiburger

McDonald's New Zealand sells products consistent with its international markets – including the chain's signature product, the Big Mac. Items unique to the New Zealand menu include:

  • Kiwiburger – A take on the classic New Zealand hamburger: quarter-pound beef patty, egg, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, onion, ketchup and mustard.[29] Introduced in 1991 as a permanent menu item but withdrawn in 2004 due to complications with the egg and beetroot. It has returned as a limited-time item in 2007, 2009 and every year from 2011 to 2015.
  • Massive McMuffin – bacon, egg, cheese, two sausage patties and ketchup between two English muffins. This product is not available on the All Day Breakfast menu.
  • Georgie Pie – A flaking pie pastry containing either Steak Mince And Cheese or Bacon and Egg.
  • The Boss – A double-patty burger with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese.
  • Breakfast Bagels – bagels on the breakfast menu that come in two flavours: NYC Benedict or BLT. These products are available on the All Day Breakfast menu.
  • Chicken McMuffin – a McChicken patty on two English Muffins with a slice of cheese and mayonnaise.[citation needed]

In 2016, McDonald's bought more than NZ$150 million worth of local produce for its New Zealand restaurants.[3]

Since 2018, the McDonald's Cookie Time McFlurry has been available through Uber Eats.[30]

Franchisees and employment relationsEdit

McDonald's New Zealand has union representation.[31] This has led to demands for equal pay with other fast food sector employees, such as those in KFC.[32] There were also protests about favouritism of police officers and the accused harassment of one member staff for being gay.[33] The demand for higher wages ultimately led to a strike which began on 22 May 2013 in the Bunny St McDonald's in Wellington.[32]

In May 2013, the National Government reintroduced a youth minimum wage for 16- and 17-year-olds at 80 percent of the adult minimum wage. McDonald's was one of seven major companies employing young people to reject a youth minimum wage and insisting young employees be paid at least the adult minimum wage.[34]

In December 2019, Lauren McAuslin was the youngest McDonald's franchisee in the country. She is 34 and owns a restaurant in New Plymouth. She also ran her parent's business in Blenheim where she sold Big Macs and milkshakes.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "McDonald's Restaurants (New Zealand) Limited -- Companies Office". Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Organisation | McDonald's New Zealand". Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Reidy, Madison (14 May 2017). "McDonald's buys $238m of New Zealand food". Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Macca's Story | McDonald's New Zealand". Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Big NZ plans for big US burgers". Television New Zealand. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. ^ a b Daniel Dunkley (23 December 2019). "This is New Zealand's youngest McDonald's franchisee". Stuff. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  7. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (20 May 2003). "It's Back to Basics for McDonald's". USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  8. ^ "Contact Us | McDonald's New Zealand". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  9. ^ Hepözden 2011, p. 39.
  10. ^ Hepözden 2011, p. 65.
  11. ^ Hepözden 2011, p. 68.
  12. ^ Hepözden 2011, pp. 83–84.
  13. ^ Hepözden 2011, p. 50.
  14. ^ Steele, Monique (3 November 2017). "First McDonald's restaurants in the South Island celebrate 30 years". Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  15. ^ Hepözden 2011, pp. 112–115.
  16. ^ Riddell, Iris (4 March 2013). "Taupo McDonald's is world's coolest". Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Fuselage feasts: airplane restaurants and hotels take off". 21 November 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2019 – via The Daily Meal.
  18. ^ "Georgie Pie helps lift sales at McDonald's". The New Zealand Herald. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  19. ^ "'Big Dane': big heart - and dreams".
  20. ^ Hepözden 2011, p. 163.
  21. ^ "McDonald's takes Georgie Pie nationwide". Fairfax New Zealand. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  22. ^ Barrell, Ryan (21 July 2016). "McDonald's Decided To Let The Internet Design Burgers And It All Went Very Wrong". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  23. ^ "A Big Mac for 75c? McDonald's goes back 40 years, takes prices with it". 7 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  24. ^ Livingston, Tommy; Nicholl, Jared (12 February 2016). "Huge fire at Silverstream McDonald's is extinguished". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Hastings McDonald's first in NZ to feature menu in te reo Māori". 23 May 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  26. ^ "McDonald's Happy Meal toys replaced by Roald Dahl books in New Zealand". The Independent. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  27. ^ "McDonald's Is Swapping Out Happy Meal Toys for Books". Food Network. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  28. ^ "KFC keeps eye on home delivery trial by rival". New Zealand Herald. 21 July 2016. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  29. ^ "Kiwiburger | McDonald's New Zealand". Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  30. ^ "McDonald's Cookie Time McFlurry launches exclusively on Uber Eats". Stuff. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  31. ^ "Dan Gallin interview: The Transcript".
  32. ^ a b "New Zealand: McDonald's hit by first ever strike in Wellington". 6 September 2016.
  33. ^ "McDonald's workers protest police discount". Television New Zealand. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  34. ^ Backhouse, Matthew; Shuttleworth, Kate (1 May 2013). "Supermarkets still considering new youth wage". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2013.


  • Hepözden, Rosemary (2011). O'Flaherty, Brian (ed.). Golden Arches under Southern Skies: Celebrating 35 years of McDonald's in New Zealand. in co-op with McDonald's Restaurants (NZ) Ltd. Auckland: Renaissance Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9864521-1-6.

External linksEdit