Fast-food business change of tack for new outlet’s manager

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Pita Pit Oamaru is open and ready for business.

Local identity and franchisee Michael McKeown is excited about the arrival of the newest fast-food restaurant in Oamaru.

For the past 20 years, he had worked for his family-operated McKeown Group, which deals in the petrol and chemical trade.

“They’ve split this company up between our family, so it’s me, Mum and Dad and my brother, so it’s just us doing it.”

Now, he has stepped away from the industry to serve food.

Working in the hospitality industry was obviously different from working with petroleum but it did share some similarities.

“It’s different but it’s not vastly different.

“The food thing – the systems within Pita Pit are pretty good, so you sort of can’t go wrong too much.”

Although Mr McKeown would not be working in the store full-time, he would serve as overall manager of the business.

Starting up the store had been a challenge that kept Mr McKeown constantly on his feet.

“Hopefully, once we get staff up and going, they’ll be able to run it a bit more.”

The restaurant is in Oamaru’s North End, part of the revamped Caltex station, another McKeown-managed business in Oamaru.

“When they redesigned this place, it was an opportunity to put something else in.”

The store had its official opening two weeks ago and queues of hungry customers filled the store on the first two nights of business.

“Thursday and Friday was just really, really popular. They were queuing out the door, just about.”

Mr McKeown was confident Pita Pit would be a hit for Oamaru, because it offered something different.