Unaccompanied teens hit by McDonald's evening ban

The McDonald's in Leigh
The McDonald's in Leigh

Staff at a branch of McDonald’s in the Wigan borough have caused controversy after banning unsupervised teenagers from sitting in the fast food restaurant in the evening.

In a bold move made by management at the Leigh town centre eatery, teenagers unaccompanied by an adult have been told they must leave by 7pm as part of an initiative to reduce antisocial behaviour.

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The decision at the Bradshawgate outlet has split opinion among Leythers.

Many have backed the plan, saying that McDonald’s staff should not have to tolerate bad behaviour while others feel it is an unfair judgement on all teenagers.

A spokesperson for the fast food giant said: “We do not have a company-wide policy which restricts teenagers coming in to our restaurants.

“There is no formal policy at the restaurant in Leigh, though on some occasions the manager will use their discretion to request that teenagers are accompanied by an adult.”

An online debate, started by Karen Pendlebury who spoke out in defence of the teens, has revealed that a large number of residents are in favour of the plans.

She said: “I’ve just been messaged from a young girl I work with who feels totally gutted.

“As she has explained to me: sometimes young people have nowhere warm to go, no homes.

“This young lady is a very well-behaved, well-mannered, caring teen who I would be proud to call my daughter.

“McDonald’s should be ashamed to judge every young person the same.

“There are so many good young people out there and it’s no wonder they get fed up with adults who treat them this way.”

However, numerous people responded to this defending the decision made by McDonald’s.

Pete Ince said: “McDonald’s is a private business and there to make money. They are not a drop-in centre to shelter from the cold and rain.

“Whilst there may be groups of teenagers causing no harm or trouble, they may be taking up four or five tables which families with children out for a meal cannot use and they’ll go somewhere else.”

Cole Kelly added: “If they are respectful and well behaved keeping themselves to themselves then there should really be no issue...but when it comes to rowdy groups I understand why they have gone to this extent.

“McDonald’s have always suffered with this going on and the staff get forced to put up with far more than they are paid too. It’s unfair for them and other customers to be in that situation.”