McDonald's Augustine Heights crew trainer Zanae Sanders enjoys the flexibility that the job provides.
McDonald's Augustine Heights crew trainer Zanae Sanders enjoys the flexibility that the job provides. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich's love of fast food fuels teen jobless rate

TEENAGERS are flocking to fast food franchises in Ipswich, learning responsibility and how to tackle life issues at their first jobs.

The greater Ipswich area has around 50 major international fast food outlets and according to franchisees, in just 15 of these stores, they employ around 1200 staff.

According to Queensland Government statistics, Ipswich has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the state, with 87.9 per cent of working age youth sporting jobs.

Franchisees from local McDonald's, Domino's Pizza and KFC all agree they have a certain responsibility to the teens that come into their fold.



Crew trainer Zanae Sanders,McCafe crew Stephanie McGregor and franchisee Lisa Mackintosh at McDonalds Augustine Heights.
Crew trainer Zanae Sanders, McCafe crew Stephanie McGregor and franchisee Lisa Mackintosh at McDonald's Augustine Heights. Cordell Richardson

Lisa Mackintosh, operates four stores around Springfield and has just under 400 people working for her. She said she prides herself on being able to offer teens their first jobs.

"The good thing about it is, it's my business and for the amount of people I have the majority are 14, 15 and 16 year olds," she said.

"I'm able to give them that opportunity rather than a small business and we absorb the cost (of training) into the business."

Ms Mackintosh said that McDonald's experience does come in highly ranked later in life, with even banks stating the former fast food restaurant's employees have excellent skills.

"You have the local businesses in the area but they usually only employ one or two kids at a time and if it's a great job they won't leave - which is great - but there are no other opportunities," she said.

Her ethos when employing teens is to make sure they're local, and save mum and dad from dropping them to work.

"If the big businesses weren't in the area, the kids would have to go out of the area for a job or not have a job," Ms Mackintosh said.

"With the new store at Camira, we have Woodcrest behind us. Most of the kids, the majority of the kids we employ come from Woodcrest.

"They walk over after school and start work, whereas if the store wasn't there they would have to get a job closer to home or travel because there is no other big employer in Camira."

Domino's Pizza


Morgan Wilkins at his Redbank Plains Domino's store where fraudulent credit card payments were made.
Morgan Wilkins said teens are impressionable and need to be guided at their first jobs. Cordell Richardson

Morgan Wilkins is the franchisee of four Domino's stores, including Goodna, Redbank Plains, Springfield and Springfield Orion.

Similarly, Mr Wilkins started out as a humble delivery driver and now has 150 staff under him, with 280 employed at stores around the region.

He said that as fast food restaurants are often are typically the first job teenagers have and its the restaurant's responsibility to ensure teens build work ethic and life skills.

"It's not always about getting the person with the most experience, particularly in the demographic we deal with, in teenagers and young adults, it's primarily about attitude," he said.

"Something I really impart upon our managers and trainers is we have a big responsibility, a lot of the kids we employ, it's their first job and we're setting them up for success in their working life.

"If we don't' start them on the right path early, they're going to have a pretty warped perception (of work).

"We have to really show these kids that work's work, it can be fun but it's also serious as well - you're not just here to collect a wage."



KFC take its one-of-a-kind Food Truck 'the Colonel' to the red centre of Australia.
KFC is a huge employer in Ipswich, with 450 employees across seven stores. Contributed

Between Ipswich's seven KFC stores there are 450 employees, Collins Food chief people officer Dawn Linacker said.

Ms Linacker said the majority of the workers begin with the company when they are young and they have a very low turnover rate in Ipswich.

"From our perspective, we take our role very seriously trying to provide a first job in life," she said.

"We target youth to actually help support them but they do a great job in our restaurants overall."

Ms Linacker said that KFC goes so far to offer training programs in hopes the teens will follow through and use that degree somewhere in head office.

"One of the things we're really proud of is the support we provide in offering traineeships in our young people," she said.

"That gives them an actual qualification that they can get through working for us but they can they equally use that with a career if they choose not to stay with KFC.

"Typically 99.9 per cent of our management in restaurants come from team members that joined us at 14-15 years of age and progressed through to being a shift supervisor and a manger.

"It's about giving them a career opportunity, that's the focus for us. We have a support centre in Brisbane (a head office) and it's fabulous for us to see people from restaurants in head office."

Honourable mentions

Carl's Jr. Burger is also set to employ a total of 200 when they open their latest store in Bundamba, while Krispy Kreme in Redbank Plains employs around 30 staff.