Fast food chains of Melbourne, circa 1982

Today in Australia you can find a fast food on almost every street corner, from small family operated Chinese takeaways and pizza shops, through to massive multinational chains. It might be hard to imagine not having a big fast food joint down the road from you, but these advertisements in the 1982-83 Gregory’s Melbourne Street Directory, 14th edition show how few locations they once had.

Kentucky Fried Chicken was the first big chain to come to Australia, opening their first restaurant at Guildford in Sydney’s western suburbs in 1968. Now with over 600 KFC’s across Australia, the company adopted the KFC moniker in 1992 when they dropped the unhealthy sounding ‘fried’ bit from their name. Meanwhile back in 1982, Kentucky Fried Chicken they had a total of 35 restaurants scattered around Melbourne, and 3 more in Geelong.

Kentucky Fried Chicken in Melbourne, circa 1982

McDonald’s took a bit longer to come to Australia, opening their first restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Yagoona in 1971, and over the next four decades the chain has grown to over 780 locations.

If we go back to 1982 we see Melbourne only had 33 McDonald’s restaurants – I’m not talking about the ones in the CBD – that is 33 in the entire metropolitan area! There was only a single McDonald’s in the CBD: located at 33 Swanston Street, the site now appears to be a KFC, with the current McDonald’s being a few shops south towards Flinders Street.

McDonalds in Melbourne, circa 1982

With the explosive growth in the number of fast food chains since the 1980s, is it any wonder that Australia overtook the USA as the world’s fattest nation in 2008?

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10 Responses to “Fast food chains of Melbourne, circa 1982”

  1. Tim says:

    I remember when there used to be a lot more McDonalds in the CBD during the 80s/90s. Most of them closed along with all the Timezone arcade centres and 7/11s replaced them. The same will happen with PieFace eventually, the only person really making money out of that is the company selling the franchise.

    • Marcus says:

      Bloody Pie Face – those places are spreading around Melbourne like the plague – I wonder how long until they outnumber 7-Eleven stores!

  2. scott says:

    I think it’s alarming the number of fat people you see on the streets now. At this rate it won’t be long until most people are morbidly obese.

  3. […] chain restaurants. The first McDonalds opened in Melbourne (Glen Waverly) in 1973 and by 1982, there were 33. In the same year, there were 35 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. Burger King set foot in town in […]

  4. […] few years ago I stumbled on a Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisement from 1982, that listed all 35 restaurants scattered around Melbourne, as well as the three in […]

  5. Wai says:

    Hey Marcus, do you know how I can get the number of KFC stores/outlets in Victoria?

  6. Mavis says:

    How can I find out which Kentucky fried chicken outlet was the first one in Geelong?
    I think it was Belmont, but some others think it was North Geelong.
    Can anyone give me a fact based answer please?

  7. David Lindstrom says:

    McDonald’s Bourke St West at 406 Bourke Street was there in 1982. Possibly 1981.
    The McDonald’s at 13 Swanston Street which was demolished for the Metro tunnel was preceded by a large downstairs McDonald’s at 37 Swanston Street (where Arthur Daley’s is now).

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