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How burger joint giant truly serves community in Gravesham and Dartford

You may or may not be ‘lovin’ it’ but McDonald’s serves up a whole lot more than just burger and fries.

The fast food giant, which has branches in Dartford town centre, Princes Road, London Road, Greenhithe, and Bluewater, contributes £6.8 million to the Dartford economy annually.

The chain opened its first outlet in Spital Street in September 1981, with the latest in Princes Road opening just two months ago.

McDonalds, New Road, Gravesend.

The figure has been revealed as part of an independent economic report commissioned by McDonald’s to mark its 40th anniversary in the UK and represents the combined contribution made by both the business and its suppliers.

The annual contribution to Gravesham’s economy is £1.7 million, which will be further boosted by plans for a drive-through McDonald’s as part of the redevelopment of the former Tollgate hotel.

McDonald's franchisee Paul Shaw, who owns and operates four restaurants in Dartford and Gravesend

Paul Shaw is the franchisee of all the Dartford-based branches, except Bluewater.

He also runs the McDonald’s in New Road, Gravesend, and is proud of the part his restaurants play in boosting the economy both financially and through jobs.

He said: “From supporting local young people into employment to offering a ladder of learning to all of my staff, I believe that you only get out of a community what you put in.

“I’m thrilled to see the impact my team has helped make to the area.”

Mr Shaw also praised the benefits brought to residents and other businesses by the presence of McDonald’s.

“Whether that’s leading environmental initiatives or hosting charity fundraising events for Ronald McDonald House charities, we’ve managed to raise almost £100,000. We look forward to furthering this commitment in the future.”

Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite

Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) said the report demonstrated the importance of “big employers” such as McDonald’s.

He said: “These are the hidden benefits of big employers coming to Dartford and being in Dartford.

“People are quick to say they are bad for high streets and towns. But in all the big things that mean something, like jobs and helping people pay mortgages, these kind of businesses are stable and good employers.

“We welcome them to Dartford, and need more like them, but we also want to look after our independent traders.”

John Burden

Gravesham council leader Cllr John Burden (Lab) echoed the need to support all traders.

He said: “We are unusual here in Gravesend because not only do we have the big chains but we have among the highest number of independent retailers as well, over 450 in the town centre.

"We are proud not just of the big retailers but those independent ones as well. We have a very mixed shopping base and it is really important we maintain that.

“As a council we are really supportive of the business community and will work hard to safeguard that.”

The report, Serving The UK: McDonald’s At 40, found that McDonald’s has just over 1,200 restaurants in the UK, and its supply chain is worth an estimated £2.5 billion annually to the UK economy.

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