SWANSEA’S McDonalds has been caught trading outside its approved operating hours ahead of a debate on its application for a 24-hour trading.
The restaurant was caught out last week by a customer who discovered they could be served before the listed opening time of 6am.
Pamela James, a local resident, says she went to the store for an early morning bite to eat and while waiting in her car for the store to open, witnessed people entering the premises.
She assumed they were staff, but went to the drive-thru to see. Expecting to be told the store was closed, she was surprised to hear: “How can I help you?”.
“I sat there and cars started to go through,” Ms James said. “So I went through myself.
I drove through and I got 'How can I help you?', not 'We're closed'...- Swansea McDonald's customer, Pamela James
“While I was waiting, I looked across into the restaurant and people who had parked had gone in.
“So they had people inside as well.”
Ms James ended up ordering twice and got receipts for both her orders. One at 5.33am and the other at 5.40am.
She believes the trading is not a one-off and a common occurrence at the store.
“I think council should go through McDonald’s records and investigate how long they’ve been breaching their trading hours and penalise them accordingly,” she said.
Lake Macquarie City Council responded to the Herald’s inquiry about the breach, but did not indicate if a penalty could be issued.
“McDonald’s Swansea currently has consent to operate the restaurant and drive-thru from 6am to 12 midnight as per DA/1261/2010/B,” council’s statement read.
“Council staff have recently been made aware that trading may be occurring outside these hours, and are looking into this further.”
McDonald’s Australia said they have been in contact with the franchisee regarding the breach.
“All of our restaurants should only operate within approved trading hours,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said. “We have worked with this restaurant to ensure this will not happen again.”
In 2011, the Swansea store was busted trading until midnight, beyond its then-approved closing time of 10pm.
The restaurant was approved for 24-hour trading by LMCC in mid-March, but it was reversed a fortnight later after public concerns.
The development application is up for debate again on Monday, April 23.
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