26 March 2023

Brad's first job was flipping burgers in Wagga - he's now building his fifth McDonald's in Canberra

| James Coleman
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man and woman looking at plans

Brad and Kate Carroll outside the site of the new McDonald’s in Phillip. Photo: Brad Carroll.

Brad Carroll started flipping burgers at the age of 14 in his home town of Wagga Wagga as “a casual job after school for some extra money”. Now, 28 years later, he’s overseeing the construction of his fifth McDonald’s restaurant in Canberra.

The new restaurant will sit on the site of the former Magnet Mart hardware store in Hindmarsh Drive, Phillip, and will include a dual-lane drive-through, McCafe and ”PlayPlace” area. There will also be an attached service station, operated by Metro.

“It will just be everything you expect in a brand-new facility,” Brad says.

The father of three currently employs more than 500 people across his four existing ”Maccas” restaurants in Manuka, Molonglo Valley, Weston and Westfield Woden. This new one will push the total crew members under his watch towards 700.

Brad has also been recognised as one of Canberra’s key employers for ”Inclusion in Employment” at the ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards in 2022.

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“I was looking to do a trade at the end of year 12, but I just got the bug of McDonald’s and really loved working there,” he says, reflecting on his first job in Wagga.

“With any business, if you become passionate about it, it doesn’t become so much work when it’s thoroughly enjoyable.”

One thing led to another and he was promoted to restaurant manager after finishing school. Still in his late teens, he and his wife Kate bought their first property when they realised that by doing up houses and selling them, they could turn a handsome sum. Enough, say, to buy their first McDonald’s franchise in 2010.

This grew to two restaurants, then a third, and a fourth, all still in Wagga. From here, they expanded to two more in Leeton and Temora before moving to Canberra in 2015.

artist's impression of a McDonald's

An artist’s impression of McDonald’s Phillip, including the petrol station and drive-through. Image: Richmond and Ross.

“I guess being young and ambitious, we were sort of landlocked where we were,” Brad says.

“An opportunity came up in Canberra to run two restaurants. We always like visiting Canberra to see friends so we thought, why not?”

The new venture in Phillip is the first in the area to offer a drive-through.

“McDonald’s Australia finds the sites, based on all kinds of things – demographics, if there’s a major highway or thoroughfare going through, population growth, and what other industries are nearby,” Brad says.

“The closest drive-through [to Woden] is Weston or over the hill in Erindale, so there has been a hole to be filled in Canberra for some time as far as our offering goes. We’re very excited about it.”

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Meanwhile, the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) says there are “diverse views about the merits” of the new restaurant.

“Many people are acutely aware that it is on the site of the old hardware shop and garden centre,” WVCC president Fiona Carrick says.

“After the loss of most of Woden’s recreation precinct to residential towers, we need to better understand the future of services in … Phillip, given it is zoned for five and six-storey apartments and ground-floor commercial tenancies.”

Fiona also cites traffic congestion as an increasing issue for Woden.

“It would be handy if traffic can head south from the drive-through without having to re-enter Hindmarsh Drive.”

Construction on the restaurant is scheduled to take 30 weeks, with completion pencilled in for the end of October.

Original Article published by James Coleman on Riotact.

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