Community involvement is at the heart of Ken and Cherie Harlock’s vision as new owners of McDonald’s in Warkworth and Wellsford. Having lived locally for five years and owned Orewa McDonald’s for nearly three years, they know the area well and are keen to play a more active role in local events and activities, such as sponsoring sports teams, joining local business associations and taking part in festivals and parades.
“We want to ramp up our presence in the community and make more connections, have a more positive presence,” Ken says. “We want the right culture here at McDonald’s and aim to be community-focused.”
That starts with hiring more local staff in both full and part-time roles at both restaurants. Warkworth can employ around 100 people and Wellsford up to 50, so there are plenty of opportunities.
“I went to the careers night at Mahurangi College and found a lot of kids don’t realise they can earn NCEA credits working for us via our OASIS programme – they can earn up to 17 credits,” Cherie says.
“We have a great opportunity to reset the culture at the Warkworth restaurant, and bring some local kids in here and at the same time create some skills and opportunities.
“Wellsford has already got a lot of the community involved, and is a little ahead of where we want to
be in Warkworth.”
Before becoming McDonald’s franchisees, Ken worked in banking and Cherie in marketing, but were looking for a career where they could work together long-term. After three successful years in Orewa, they were ready to buy another one or two restaurants, so were delighted when the two restaurants on their home patch came up for sale.
“To have three in a row is perfect, it’s a great opportunity,” Ken says. “Warkworth and Wellsford are very progressive, there’s a lot of infrastructure going in, residential development, families moving in, and at the end of the day, we’re a family restaurant.”
Cherie says they are also keen to trial initiatives such as paper straws at Orewa, and maximise recycling, which is a key focus of McDonald’s globally.
“We’re very cognisant of the role we have got to play in helping the environment.”