After 10 years of negotiations, major chain KFC has opened on the site of the former landmark Dewhirst’s factory in Pennywell.
The fast food chain began talks with owners UK Land Estates a decade ago before the deal was finally struck to build a £2.2million drive-thru and eat in restaurant.
After much anticipation about what would be built on the derelict site in Pennywell Industrial Estate, KFC finally served up its first bucket after an official ribbon cutting by the newly sworn-in Mayor of Sunderland.
It’s the first business to open on the site, which will also be home to a new Aldi and Marstons pub and restaurant after planning permission for the major chains was approved.
Trevor Lambert, development leader at KFC, said: “We held a friends and family weekend ahead of the opening today and had a great response. We already have a branch at Thompson Retail Park and the city centre, so we know the demand is there, and this third site really consolidates our presence in the area.
“We really want to invest in the North East and it’s great to see a once derelict site being used and creating new jobs. It brings vibrancy to the area and also footfall for surrounding businesses.”
Around 40 part-time and full-time jobs have been created by the opening of the 70-seater restaurant, which made donations to charities The Key and The Salvation Army as part of its opening weekend.
The Key, which supports young people in reaching their potential, is the chosen charity for the North East branches of KFC while The Salvation Army benefits from any food waste which is donated to their soup kitchens.
New Mayor of Sunderland, coun David Snowdon, said the restaurant was a welcome addition to the area.
“After years of this site being derelict it’s great to see a household name investing in the city,” he said. “It’s bringing jobs to the city and is ideally placed for people off the A19.”
•We’ve teamed up with KFC to give away two family feasts at the new Pennywell store. To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: what is the name of the KFC founder and mascot?
A) Colonel Sanders
B) Captain Sanders
C) President Sanders
Email your name and answer to Katy.Wheeler@jpimedia.co.uk by 9am on June 7. Usual JPI Media rules apply and no monetary value will be given.