McDonald’s blocks Corstorphine Costa drive-thru

Costa's hopes of opening a drive-thru in Corstorphine have been vetoed by McDonald's. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Costa's hopes of opening a drive-thru in Corstorphine have been vetoed by McDonald's. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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FAST food chain McDonald’s has stopped a rival firm from filtering off coffee sales by blocking a bid for a new drive-thru.

Insurance giant Aviva wanted to earn an extra £85,000 a year by renting out part of Corstorphine Retail Park to Costa.

But McDonald’s said taking away parking places to build the new coffee outlet, and at the same time increasing traffic, would not work.

Now its claim that there was no room for two drive-thrus has been backed by an expert report.

Aviva Investors Pensions Ltd raised an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh against McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd.

The court heard that McDonald’s’ lease included a clause that Aviva could only go ahead with the Costa coffee shop plan if McDonald’s consented.

But the small print also said: “Such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed.”

Aviva said McDonald’s was being unreasonable and put up its own expert evidence about the car parking situation, but judge Lord Malcolm rejected their claim.

Mike Pretious, a retail and consumer affairs expert at Queen Margaret University, said: “This is little bit churlish on McDonald’s’ behalf.

“If they believe their coffee is so good they should be able to take the competition from Costa.

“This sort of thing tends to happen when the firm sees the newcomer as a competitor.

“In these difficult times there have been other instances where companies have blocked new firms from opening up in retail parks.

“Quite often with retail parks there’s an existing clause where the company which has opened up first is consulted if a new firm wants to open up there.

“In recent years, McDonald’s has been working pretty hard to improve its coffee offer and at the same time Costa has been focusing more on food products.

“But I don’t see them as direct competitors.”

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “We are pleased that the judge agreed with the facts our expert presented and found in our favour.”

Last year, Marks and Spencer took issue with a planned new Primark store at the Gyle shopping centre.

The multi-million pound Primark would provide a huge boost for the Gyle and other stores at the centre were desperate to see it open because of the thousands of extra shoppers they would pull in.

But M&S, which has a right to be consulted on new openings as one of the centre’s two anchor stores, is understood to be in talks with the Gyle owners over concerns about Primark’s opening. It was estimated that Primark would attract an extra £4.5 million a year in spending to the Capital that currently goes elsewhere, particularly to Livingston.

A new Debenhams proposed at the out-of-town Fort Kinnaird shopping complex was also rejected by the city planning committee.