You may not have heard of this outlet unless you live in the West, but the McDonald’s outlet in Ridout Tea Garden has been here for the last 32 years. Sadly, when its lease runs out on December 31, 2021, the food chain will bid farewell to this iconic branch. Here are some details of this branch:
It’s one of the oldest McDonald’s outlets
The Ridout Tea Garden has been in operation at this outlet since 1989, making it 32 years old. Other outlets around the same age include the one at Hougang St 21 which opened in 1984 as the first fast food restaurant in an HDB estate in Singapore.
Even so, the honour for the longest-operational outlet goes to the one at People’s Park Complex which has been in operation since 1979, making it 42 years old. McDonald’s actually debuted in Singapore the same year in October in Liat Towers, when it set the world’s record for the highest volume of hamburgers served that day!
Ridout Tea Garden
Ridout Tea Garden was once known as Queenstown Japanese Garden, Singapore’s first Japanese-themed community garden that opened in 1970 but it was razed in 1978. In 1980, cost of S$500,000 by HDB, a new 1.38 hectare recreation site comprised a tea kiosk, bridges, and ponds was rebuilt in its place. It was renamed Ridout Tea Garden to differentiate itself from the nearby Jurong Japanese Garden.
Since 1989, a McDonald’s outlet has sat in this Japanese-themed pavillion, set in a serene spot surrounded by a pond with plenty of terrapins and fish, and a network of wooden bridges. Thanks to the lush greenery, this McDonald’s outlet feels more like a zen fast food joint than what you expect of a McDonald’s site.
Why is it closing?
As Singapore’s lands are constantly under redevelopment, it’s no surprise that Ridout Tea Garden is the latest casualty. According to SLA (Singapore Land Authority) which currently manages the entire estate, the tenancy of the land will be expiring on December 31, 2021 and it’s launched a tender for the site.
The American fast food chain has also announced that it will cease operations upon the expiry. Its closure follows that of other iconic McDonald’s outlets across Singapore over the past decade. Notable losses include the 23-year old King Albert Park outlet that shut in 2014 and the one at Marina Cove which closed in 2012 after 30 years.
There goes more of our childhood memories…