Mark Hawthorne from McDonald’s management team says the expansion will mean more freestanding restaurants this year than a combination of the last eight years.
McDonalds has experienced a 10 percent increase in sales this year and with a declining property market, the foodchain is finding land easy to find for the restaurants.
David Bibby, business analyst from Auckland University of Technology, says the company is looking to increase its presence in New Zealand.
“They’ve looked overseas and they think the country can stand that number of increased outlets so good on them,” says Bibby.
McDonalds says it has one restaurant for every 30,000 New Zealanders, while Australia has one store for every 28,000 and American has one for every 22,000 people.
McDonalds says if they were as popular in New Zealand as they are in America they would be doubling the amount of restaurants.
New Zealand currently has 143 outlets across the country.
The expansion plans have alarmed some groups with residents from Auckland’s Balmoral suburb fighting a planned new restaurant.
Nathan Inkpen from Balmoral’s Community Group says the area is afraid the McDonalds store will create traffic chaos.
“They will impact on my quality of life. If it was a 24 hour falafel joint with 2000 cars I’d be just as opposed,” says Mr Inkpen.
McDonalds are also being criticised for encouraging unhealthy eating, an issue Mr Hawthorne says has been improved upon.
“McDonalds has made a lot of progress over the past five years with variety and improvement of our food,” says Hawthorne.
Despite criticisms, McDonalds say their expansion will be healthy for employment in New Zealand with six thousand more jobs created by 2011.