Auckland’s oldest McDonald’s restaurant in Queen St to close

McDonald’s is closing its oldest Auckland fast-food restaurant in downtown Queen St and moving the Golden Arches a few doors down the Golden Mile.

The Queen St store has long been considered one of Auckland’s great melting pot meeting spots. Where drunken students might bump into equally inebriated business people, watched on by families out Friday night shopping, and homeless people.

McDonald’s opened in the old bank building at 260 Queen St in June 1977, the second McDonald’s in New Zealand after the first restaurant opened at Porirua in 1976.

McDonald’s restaurants in New Lynn and Lower Hutt opened in 1978 – the first with drive-throughs. Today, there are 170 restaurants in New Zealand.

Since the early days, McDonald’s in Queen St has served an average of 60,000 customers a month while the number of fast-food outlets on Queen St has grown to more than 40.

During the 40th anniversary of McDonald’s in 2016, the Queen St restaurant was converted back to 1976 for a day with 1970s retro service and original pricing – 75 cents for a Big Mac, 65c for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and 65c for a Filet-O-Fish.

The old Auckland Savings Bank building has some constraints and led McDonald’s to provide customers with a “modern dining experience”, a spokesman said.

The 260 Queen St McDonald’s will close when the new fast-food outlet at 268 Queen St opens next week.

McDonald’s, which owns the old bank building, has no firm plans at this stage for development options.

The McDonald’s move comes as Queen St struggles from the effects of two lockdowns with many vacant stores, particularly at the southern end of the Golden Mile.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said these are difficult times in the area, but the business group is working with property owners to do things with vacant properties like pop-ups, arts and creative window displays.

On the positive side, she said, there is quite a lot of investment happening with a number of properties being refurbished.

Beck said the Aotea station, part of the City Rail Link, will continue to attract investment in the area. The station, tipped to be the busiest railway station in New Zealand, is due to open in 2024.

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