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Kent County News Retailing And Restaurants

Meoli Companies adds Camden McDonald’s

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Ground was officially broken for the newest McDonald’s in Camden, with Meoli Companies CEO Michael Meoli leading the way on Aug. 16. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTRAL DELAWARE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

CAMDEN — After running the McDonald’s inside the Camden Walmart for years, the Meoli Companies is building a new brick-and-mortar location and solidified its expansion in the First State.

Michael Meoli, president of Meoli Companies, broke ground Monday on a new McDonald’s restaurant on 60 East St. near U.S. Route 13. He was joined with several Kent County officials and building officials as the first symbolic shovel of dirt turned over.

“Today is a great day for the Meoli Companies. For nearly 30 years I have been honored to provide the best that McDonald’s has to offer to communities across Delmarva,” Meoli said in a prepared statement. “This new restaurant in Camden will allow us to treat more customers to delicious, high-quality menu items with fast, friendly, accurate service.”

Meoli first started his business of McDonald’s chains in 1991, slowly growing it across the tri-state region and employing about 1,200 people. In November 2020, he acquired six McDonald’s in central Delaware, expanding the chain to 25 locations in his portfolio.

The Camden McDonald’s had been in the fast-food corporation’s planning pipeline for three years, and Meoli confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on the process. Construction is expected to take up to three months, and the McDonald’s will be open by the end of the year.

This is also the first new construction McDonald’s in Kent County in more than 20 years.

“With the rapid growth in the Camden-Wyoming community, we saw an opportunity to increase our footprint in the community by providing a brand new restaurant that can serve more guests delicious, high-quality menu items in a comfortable and contemporary atmosphere,” Meoli told the Delaware Business Times. 

Throughout the pandemic, fast food chains may have stood the most-prepared for the take-out option that traditional restaurants were forced to rely on for most of their revenue. However with the $300 federal enhancement on unemployment benefits, many fast food chains have been struggling with a workforce shortage.

Meoli Companies plans to hire at least 60 employees at the Camden McDonald’s, of which 80% are crew members and maintenance positions. There will also be anywhere between eight and 10 part-time and full-time management staff. Starting salary is $13 an hour and hourly managers rates earn up to $19 an hour.

The Camden McDonald’s will also feature a self-serve kiosk ordering system, much like the rest of Meoli Companies across the region. Meoli, who was among the first to roll out the technology in 2017, also said this location will be integrating new innovations like mobile order and pay and McDelivery.

“A traditional, free-standing restaurant location gives us the opportunity to serve customers with our best technology and ordering capabilities,” he added. “Our self-order kiosks have actually not reduced the number of necessary employees. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Our new digital mobile order and McDelivery have been so successful, we’ve needed more kitchen and drive-thru staff to accommodate the increased business.”

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