Thursday, November 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
After 25 years owning Whitsunday’s McDonalds stores, well-known faces Mike and Jane Muller have hung up their aprons and settled into an active retirement where they plan to travel Australia in a campervan and enjoy hiking together.
The couple first considered becoming McDonald’s licensees when they travelled to Thredbo for a skiing holiday when their children were young.
“We could see how busy McDonalds was and we thought – there could be a bit of money in this!” reminisces Mike.
It took the couple several years to make the leap, however, with an ad in a local newspaper for the Airlie Beach store acting as the final impetus.
Mike remembers that McDonalds was going through a massive expansion at the time and that he had to pass 11 interviews before he was permitted to become a licensee.
It was 1998 when they opened the Airlie Beach store and 11 years later in 2009 when they decided to take on a second branch in Bowen.
Their empire expanded further in 2010 when they opened the Cannonvale store and again in 2019, when Moranbah was added to the list.
By the time of their retirement, the couple owned four stores and had over 350 staff working for them.
When asked what he will remember most, Mike said it would be “our people” and fondly remembered mentoring countless teenagers, helping to give them a purpose and a good work ethic in life.
On Monday this week, Mike and Jane’s McDonalds officially changed hands and the new owners, Andrew Paranomas and Jaide Hunt took over.
Jane and Mike Muller with Andrew Paranomas and Jaide Hunt. Photo credit: Bronte Hodge