McDonald's to speed up creation of 5,000 UK jobs because of Brexit economic jitters

McDonald's plans to accelerate the creation of 5,000 British jobs after the Brexit vote, its UK chief executive has said, while there are no plans to extend its partnership with Pokémon Go beyond Japan.

Paul Pomroy told ITV News that the economic uncertainty created by the referendum result meant it was important for his business to demonstrate its confidence to both customers and employees by investing in jobs.

The job creation had been on the cards anyway, with the extra people required to carry out a £600m investment the fast food chain’s franchise managers are making in its 1,250 UK restaurants. But Pomroy indicated this would now happen sooner than planned.

"Brexit caused anxiety for some of our customers and some of our people," he said. "I’m here to reassure our people that we are here to create great jobs and to to invest in them.

"I want to accelerate our investment, accelerate what matters to our customers, because what we learned through the recession was that customers demands of retail will get heightened, post- an event like Brexit, and when they’re feeling more fragile in terms of their confidence in the economy, we need to step change and keep investing in what matters."

McDonald’s is creating a mix of full and part-time jobs, with most paying just above the National Living Wage of £7.20. Pomroy said the company, which receives about 3,000 applications a day, expects to fill the vacancies easily.

Pokémon goes no further than Japan, for now

Pomroy’s comments come after McDonald’s second quarter financial results yesterday, which presented a mixed picture for the business. The UK remained one of the better performing markets, along with Canada, Australia and Japan.

Like-for-like sales across the world were up 3.1%, but the refranchising process, which will see the proportion of restaurants run by franchisees increase from 81% to 90% worldwide by 2018, meant total revenues fell 3.6%. 

In a conference call, company president and chief executive Steve Easterbrook said that the link-up with Pokémon Go in Japan was doing "great things for the business", but confirmed that there were currently no plans as yet to extend this to other countries.

"Our relationship with Niantic [the game’s developer] really has been driven by our Japanese team," said Easterbrook. "It's a global phenomenon, clearly, and they're working really hard to roll it across a whole bunch of different markets around the world with, again, great success.

"We'll keep talking to any leadership partners around the world, so nothing else to say, no other speculation to add to it, but we're certainly enjoying what it's doing for our business in Japan at the moment."

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