McDonald’s fans are complaining of government overreach after a council ruled against new drive-thrus due to concerns over the weight of its residents. In Sydney, Australia, a local health authority refused to build a “super-sized” drive-thru because of obesity rates, reported The Sun.
The residents of Cremorne are railing against their local council after plans were scrapped to build a new dual-lane McDonald’s that would serve an extra 14 people simultaneously. The £315,000 project includes plans to reduce parking spaces from 35 to 26, remove an outdoor terrace with 22 seats, and minor interior renovations.
McDonald’s reportedly said the move was in response to customers eating in their cars rather than walking into restaurants since the pandemic. However, North Sydney Local Health District said the changes would increase obesity rates and have “health impacts.”
“There is a concern that increasing accessibility to fast food, via an expanded drive-through, may negatively influence the eating habits of children and adults, and undermine existing population health strategies to tackle obesity,” the group stated to The Sun†
“Data from the Australian Urban Observatory shows that Cremorne already has more than adequate access to fast food.” The organization continued, “Providing greater access to fast food via an expanded, dual lane drive-through is unlikely to result in positive population health outcomes.”
The Health District’s Andrew Wheeler and senior manager Mary McCafferty contend that the new design discourages people from cycling and walking into the facility. Having a nearby community health center that provides disability and multicultural health support is also an important factor, they told The Sun† “Accordingly, the center’s vulnerable persons may not be able to park in the vicinity of the center to attend their health appointments and this may lead to vulnerable persons’ declining health,” they remarked.
Despite local figures showing a 19 percent obesity rate in adults, those figures are well below the state’s average of 33 percent. In light of residents blasting the decision, McDonald’s said it offered a range of healthy options, and many of its restaurants had dual-lane drive-thrus.
“McDonald’s has been part of the Cremorne community for more than 40 years. We are reinvesting into the restaurant to make it more accessible and convenient for our customers and crew,” said a spokesperson.”Throughout the pandemic, we experienced a considerable increase in drive-through numbers.
“In the last two years there has been an increase in transactions in the drive through of 8.3 percent which has been offset by a reduction in over-the-counter sales,” the representative added.”The second drive-through lane will substantially increase the queuing capacity of the operation and provide a second point of order and will minimize the queuing impact on the internal carparking area, reducing congestion and reliance on carparking.”