McDonald's €350m contract to create 65 jobs
SOME 65 permanent jobs are to be created in Co Waterford, as well as 100 construction posts, following the announcement that Dawn Meats has been awarded a €300 million contract to process up to 18,000 tonnes of Irish beef a year for McDonald’s Europe.
McDonald’s currently sources 40,000 tonnes of beef from Ireland each year, which is used in its Irish and European restaurants.
Up to now Irish beef has been shipped to Britain, where it was processed before entering the McDonald’s supply chain. That meat will now be processed in a purpose-built facility in Carroll’s Cross, Co Waterford.
McDonald’s is the single biggest purchaser of Irish beef, buying about 10 per cent of Ireland’s total beef output. It will continue to source its beef from a number of Irish processors including Dawn Meats, Kepak and AIBF.
The decision to locate the processing plant in Ireland followed a review of capacity across McDonald’s Europe.
While Adrian Crean, managing director of McDonald’s Ireland, declined to comment on the other companies or countries that were in the running for the contract, it is understood that a number of EU countries, such as Germany and Britain, were considered.
Other Irish beef processors are likely to have expressed an interest in the contract.
Mr Crean said the decision to locate the facility in Ireland reflected the company’s belief that “Irish beef, which is produced from cattle reared on a natural diet, grazing extensively in open fields . . . is one of the best there is”.
One in five hamburgers sold in McDonald’s restaurants across Europe is made from Irish beef. Britain, Germany and Spain are among other main beef suppliers.
Niall Browne, chief executive of Dawn Meats, said the 40,000 sq ft facility would be opened officially at the end of June. Enterprise Ireland is financing about 10 per cent of the €14.5 million investment.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is due to meet the McDonald’s incoming global director next month in the US, said the deal exemplified how Ireland was moving from being an exporter of “high volume, commodity-based food products to becoming a producer of value-added, premium products which are gaining a reputation across the globe”.
McDonald’s, which this month celebrates 35 years in Ireland, employs about 4,000 people in Ireland. Some 69 of its total 81 restaurants here are run by franchise owners.