THEIR golden arches are a familiar site on high streets across the world, but little is known of the impact McDonalds has on the economy of the towns and cities where it has its restaurants.

But now an independent report released to mark the chains 40th birthday shows how much of a contribution it makes.

In Chelmsford alone, the four restaurants that operate in the city annually contribute £6.9 million to its economy, employing a massive 390 people.

Across Essex, the chain has 36 restaurants and employs 3,890 people, contributing a staggering £71.1 million annually.

Chelmsford franchisee, Ahmet Mustafa, owns and operates two restaurants in the city. His restaurants employ over 150 people and contribute £2 million. He said he is proud to play his part in the local community.

Mr Mustafa added: “From supporting local young people into employment to offering a ladder of learning to all of my staff, I believe that you only get out of a community what you put in. I’m thrilled to see the impact my team has helped make to the area.”

Jackie Farquhar works as people manager in Mr Mustafa’s restaurants. She first joined the company 30 years ago as a member of the Basildon crew. She ever met her husband of 2-years at work.

She said: “The job is incredibly rewarding - especially when I see the people I have trained progress through the business to senior positions.”

A spokesperson for Chelmsford Council said: “Chelmsford is fortunate to have a strong and balanced local economy across a variety of sectors, supporting close to 85,000 jobs.

“The food and hospitality sector in Chelmsford has always been strong, and this is definitely supported by McDonalds and their suppliers who contribute £6.9 million a year to our economy.”