BRUNEI-MUARA – American fast food chain McDonald’s opened its largest branch in Brunei on Monday — a 298-seater dine-in and drive-thru outlet in the heart of the Lambak residential area.

Located next to the Lambak Shell petrol station, the strategically located branch sits in one of the most densely populated areas of the capital, with over 25,000 residents in the immediate vicinity.

A representative from McDonald’s said they aim to not only target residents of the area, but also commuters who pass by the restaurant on the way to and from work.

With the success of McDonald’s first drive-thru in Jerudong, which opened just two years ago, the franchise decided to push ahead with expansion plans, taking a year to build its third branch in Berakas.

“The convenience of the drive-thru boosted sales making Jerudong our most profitable branch,” said the company rep. “That’s a key reason we decided to incorporate a drive-thru in Lambak.”

The central atrium of the new McDonald’s Lambak branch before opening to the public. Photo: The Scoop

The two-storey flagship restaurant features a warm, spacious open plan design, complete with playground, private event space, prayer rooms, bathrooms for disabled patrons, breastfeeding area and diaper changing room.

The full McCafé, drive-thru and McDelivery services will also be available in Lambak, although delivery will be launched at a later date.

For the opening of the flagship branch, McDonald’s employed 79 staff members, pooling the best talent from the Gadong and Jerudong outlets, as well as recruiting new frontline staff.

Noor Hafilah Md Salleh, McDonald’s marketing manager, said local staff development was a key value of Makan Ceria Sdn Bhd, the company which operates McDonald’s in Brunei.

She added that Mohd Dini Hj Morsidi, the general manager of the new Lambak outlet, started off as a crew member in 2016 and in just two years has progressed to management level.

“We offer excellent training opportunities and a career path to help staff grow. There’s no point in hiring locals if you’re not going to give them an opportunity for long-term professional development,” she said.

Food blooger Thanis Lim poses with a tray of Big Macs during the media preview of the new McDonald’s Lambak branch. Photo: The Scoop

Another representative from McDonald’s management said they do plan to open more branches across the country, while focusing on long-term sustainability in a saturated food and beverage market. “As long as we continue to be innovative in our products and marketing, InshAllah we will thrive,” he said.

McDonald’s Lambak is open from 6am to 1am on Monday, and opening hours may change depending on customer demand. From October 15 to November 4, the drive-thru will operate from 6am to 1am. For more updates, visit McDonald’s Brunei’s Instagram page.