Bourne has gone burger mad this week, with some people flocking to the new McDonald’s and others supporting independent businesses.
The global fast food giant opened a restaurant and drive-through off the Elsea Park roundabout in Bourne on Wednesday last week.
People were queuing outside the doors on Wednesday morning and enthusiasm has not died down, with long lines at the drive-through and a full car park on most days.
But there has also been an outpouring of support for Bourne’s independent takeaways following a demonstration by staff from George’s Fish Bar, based in Cherry Holt Road.
Since our story last week, Bourne has been buzzing about burgers. Almost 50 comments were left on the Local’s Facebook page, with many more tweets on the issue.
George Georgio, who runs George’s Fish Bar, put on a special deal for customers, selling a quarter pounder with cheese and chips for just £1.50. A similar meal at McDonald’s would cost £3.68.
And George, who has been running chip shops in Bourne for 13 years, was delighted to see people supporting his business. He said: “We have had a lot of responses and a lot of people bought the paper.
“The support has been great. The people of Bourne have supported us and are saying they will always come to us.”
The buzz created by McDonald’s seems to have boosted business for George. He said: “We have sold a good 450 burgers in a week. We’ve sold more since McDonald’s opened.”
Delighted as he is by the support for his business, George does not want to start a fight. He said: “I don’t want to say people aren’t allowed to go to McDonald’s. But I want to show what we do. We can compete with anyone.
“I’m not a McDonald’s activist. But we have been here all these years and we want people to carry on supporting us.
“I was surprised by the reaction. I didn’t know we would get that much of a response.”
No-one at the McDonald’s in Bourne was available to comment when we visited on Thursday. But the restaurant was packed with both people and staff enjoying the food.
Mercury reporter Alex Moore visited McDonald’s and George’s yesterday. This is what he thought.
“I dropped in to McDonald’s at about midday and it was packed, with a full car park and a big queue for the drive through. Staff were busy but still talkative, and the restaurant was colourful with plenty to do for kids, including iPads at some of the tables.
“I picked up a quarter pounder with cheese from the drive-through counter for £2.79. The burger came with a slice of processed cheese, some relish and a couple of gherkins. I’ve been to McDonald’s before and know what to expect, but even so I was a little disappointed by the burger. I couldn’t really taste the meat and the bun was sweet, suggesting it contained a little too much sugar. For almost £3 I expected better.
“George’s does not quite have the colour scheme or technology of McDonald’s, but the welcome is warm and friendly. I ordered a quarter pounder with cheese and chips, which for a limited time costs just £1.50. The burger itself was much better, with more taste and more fresh salad. It came with thick chip shop chips, which weren’t salted. On this evidence I’d probably choose George’s again, even at full price. It’s a better deal and a better taste.”
This is a selection of the Facebook comments we received.
Vince Loudon: “Independant retailer any day of the week. I would sooner help the owners of George’s pay their mortgage and feed their family than help line the pockets of a huge multi national.”
Liz Corr: “I like George’s as they are a very friendly bunch and have worked very hard to get where are they now.”
Sandra Dodson: “Georges tonight, cant beat it.”
Kaye Taylor: “McDonalds had only been open for two days and already the south end of Bourne looks like a rubbish dump - litter everywhere!!”
Benjamin Rhodes: “This is simple. Md’s has better burgers, George’s does better fish. If you want either of those you’ll go to the right place. As for the corporate side what’s wrong with that, they create jobs for locals! Local business and people moaned about Costa coming in, now we have the best coffee in town full stop. Some people don’t like change but it’s essential for Bourne to grow and get better services and facilities.”
Colette Reed: “It depends if I want fish n chips or a Big Mac!! I think this is like comparing apples with pears! Plus the chip shops aren’t open all day every day, nor do they have drive through coffee... Just saying.”
Stephen Missin: “defo Georges they rock”
Peter Stanton: “I’m not fussed either way, good for jobs. People have a choice where to eat.”
Russell Fenn: “Bourne is a dying town it needs big chain stores to come in and revamp the town it’s up to everyone else to compete with the competition, look at the new shops been ready 2 months and still no interest. Money well spent - not”
Kim Neal: “I chose Mcds for treating the kids at least they give me the complete order and their breakfasts are great.”
Graham McFarlane: “Had fish & chips at Georges on the way back from Decoy lakes. It was fantastic far better than a burger!”