Nairn McDonald's owner buys Moray branch
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THE owner of McDonald's in Nairn has taken over the Elgin branch of the franchise, praising it for its "incredibly loyal customer base".
And, he added, Moray's only McDonald's is to host a range of community and family events.
Iain Fyfe (34), director of Teallach Restaurants, received the keys and moved into the business on Monday, December 4.
Raised in Inverness, Mr Fyfe was Scotland's youngest-ever McDonald's franchisee when he took on the Nairn branch in 2022 – which he will continue to run alongside the Elgin restaurant.
He said: “It has been nice to meet everyone and they seem like a really great bunch.
“I'm really looking forward to working with them.”
Since the takeover, the new Elgin franchisee said he has been in store to meet staff across the business.
He has also come face-to-face with the "incredibly loyal customer base" of McDonald's Elgin, which is "one of the biggest stores in Scotland".
“I've already been introduced to some of the regular customers, who are there almost every day for their coffee in the morning," he said.
“It is an incredibly loyal customer base that we’ve got in Elgin and I think it has really taken off in the past five years.
“It has just gone from strength to strength every year and it's now one of the biggest stores in Scotland.
“It's a fantastic area for there to be a McDonald's – for sure."
Mr Fyfe said he had been considering a takeover of the Elgin McDonald's for a long time, and it was the "obvious next move".
The two branches, only 23 miles apart, have "lots of synergies" and staff already work between Elgin and Nairn.
“It's a store that I'd kept an eye on for the last year and a half and it was just great to finally get the keys and to move in on Monday," he said.
“It was the obvious next move, in terms of being the store next door, to look to buy it.
“The store has obviously been a stalwart in Elgin since it was first built in 1999.
“It is a lot more of an established store than Nairn – so it's a great one to take over."
Mr Fyfe said his favourite part of being a franchisee has been leading community outreach events such as the McDonald's Fun Football programme.
Already having hosted a large event at Borough Briggs earlier this year, a future event is in the works for 2024.
“Probably my favourite thing has been getting involved in the Fun Football programme," he said.
“And that's something that's really prevalent in Elgin as well.
“We've got really close ties with the Elgin Community Trust and they do a fantastic job in the community.
“We are just so happy to help support them with our Fun Football programme."
McDonald's Nairn has also played host to Family Community Days, events where families can come to the restaurant during the summer holidays to meet fun family characters face-to-face.
“We've had Paw Patrol and Toy Story into the Nairn branch for our Family Community days, and it opens things up to give families something to do during the school holidays.
“That was really successful, so it is certainly something that we'll look to take to Elgin as well."
Mr Fyfe also praised outgoing franchisee Craig Duncan, who looked after the store for nearly two decades, and made it "one of the biggest in Scotland".
“A huge thank you to the exiting franchisee Craig Duncan, who was there for 16 years," Mr Fyfe said.
“He has done a heck of a lot of great work in Elgin over the last two decades.
“It made it such a smooth transition and it has been such a successful store."
When Mr Fyfe began his journey as a franchisee, he said, he faced a "very challenging" start amid a tough economic climate.
However McDonald's was "extremely supportive", he added, and "things are looking a lot brighter now".
“It was obviously a very challenging start, because I came in at quite a troubling time when the market was struggling a little bit with inflation and the war in Ukraine," he said.
“But McDonald's have been extremely supportive.
“They really helped me throughout that challenging time.
“And things are looking a lot brighter now, so there's a lot to be optimistic about over the next year."