McDonalds targeted in armed robberies

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 6th January 2011

Three McDonalds outlets in south-east Melbourne have been targeted by armed robbers this week, leaving employees concerned for their safety and some stores closing earlier than usual.

McDonalds in the suburbs of Keysborough, Lynbrook were attacked by two men wielding a machete and an axe on Monday night, and then the Cranbourne outlet was hit by the same men, with a third accomplice, on Wednesday night. In all three cases, the men escaped only with relatively small amounts of cash from the till, with employees unable to access the restaurant safes.

The incidents have raised questions about the ability of the company’s largely teenaged workforce to deal with violent incidents of this sort, and whether fast-food chains operating late at night have an obligation to upgrade their security precautions.

Employment legal centre JobWatch executive director Zana Bytheway told The Age that many of McDonald’s 85,000 Australian staff were young, with little life experience, and often not union members, and that the company needed to ‘‘put in place better measures, obviously, because whatever measures they have got are not enough’’.

‘‘Young people are very reluctant to speak out against any conditions that aren’t favourable to them.’’

McDonalds confirmed that it would not penalise employees not wishing to return to work in the area until the situation is resolved, and would be considering extra security measures.

“We are working closely with the police, assisting them with their investigations and taking their advice on appropriate security measures during this time. Some of these include employing outside security or restricting dining room hours in many restaurants,” said Peter Breckenridge, National Director of Development at McDonald’s Australia.

“Ensuring the safety of our employees and staff is our top priority. We are providing counselling services to our employees and customers who have been impacted by these incidents.

“We take as many measures as possible to ensure that our customers and staff are kept safe at all times, such as through intensive employee training, strict security protocols, CCTV and consultative working relationships with local police.

“We will continue to work with the police and our restaurant teams to review and reinforce our security procedures.”