Nick has the McKnack!

FLIPPIN eck! It s not every day you eat a burger that s been flipped by your local Member of Parliament. But diners at a Barnstaple McDonald s had cause to double take on Friday when North Devon MP Nick Harvey stopped by the Roundswell restaurant to le

FLIPPIN' 'eck! It's not every day you eat a burger that's been flipped by your local Member of Parliament. But diners at a Barnstaple McDonald's had cause to double take on Friday when North Devon MP Nick Harvey stopped by the Roundswell restaurant to learn more about what one local business is doing to buck the recession.Mr Harvey was given a behind-the-scenes taster of life behind the counter during a tour of the restaurant with franchisee David Hunt.The MP even got the chance to don the famous apron and cap and try his hand at making one of the firm's famous Big Macs.He said he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to see at first-hand how a restaurant franchise is run, and to view the business from the other side of the till.He said: "Although McDonald's is an international brand, it was interesting to see that the restaurant is in fact a very local business."David lives locally and much of the food here is sourced from the local area."The Barnstaple restaurant uses eggs from Holsworthy, and beef and pork from Bodmin and Taunton.Despite the economic climate, Mr Hunt - who holds the franchise for two McDonald's restaurants in Barnstaple, one in Minehead, and one in Tiverton - has recorded around 25 per cent growth on figures from the same time last year."Business is growing year on year," he told the Gazette. "Despite the barriers of high utility bills and food costs, we are able to absorb the costs because we are growing. "We currently employ 250 members of staff but that will increase to around 300 going into the summer," he added.Mr Harvey said that despite a difficult economic climate, not all businesses were struggling."It's not all doom and gloom; in reality, the picture is a little more varied than that."Just as supermarkets are posting good figures, it is interesting to see businesses like McDonald's doing well."He said that he was particularly keen to hear about the company's training initiatives."It's no secret that work-based training offers a valuable alternative to more traditional educational models, and in the midst of a downturn, it is more vital than ever that employers play their part in investing in the skills that our workforce needs to compete on a local, regional and wider field.


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