McDonald's mogul stitches up Ballarat market with Bakery Hill restaurant

FAST-food mogul Laurie Nigro has completed his acquisition of the entire Ballarat McDonald’s market after buying the franchise for the city’s first store on Bakery Hill.

Laurie Nigro now owns all the McDonald’s stores in Ballarat. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Laurie Nigro now owns all the McDonald’s stores in Ballarat. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Mr Nigro and his wife bought the Bakery Hill franchise from Ian and Kerrie Corcoran, who ran the business for 18 years.

The heritage-listed Bakery Hill store is not only situated at a major CBD hub but is also the first McDonald’s when entering Ballarat from the Melbourne and the east.

Mr Nigro is now the third owner of the restaurant, which opened in 1978. 

The restaurant has space for more than 100 customers and Mr Nigro has plans to upgrade the decor to make it more family friendly, with the possibility of installing a playground.

“Plans are in place to redesign some of the existing facilities. What we want to bring back is more families,” Mr Nigro said.

He said the upgrade would be completed within 12 months.

“It’s been a long time coming. It started off with Sturt Street in 1995. 

“I didn’t think we would have the whole Ballarat market,” Mr Nigro said.

“What keeps you going as well is watching people succeed.”

Mr Nigro now owns a prominent slice of western Victorian restaurants including Sturt Street, Wendouree, Sebastopol, Bacchus Marsh, Colac, Ballan and the proposed Lucas store.

Ian and Kerrie Corcoran took over the Bakery Hill restaurant in 1996.

“We made a major contribution to Ballarat community through sponsorship,” Mr Corcoran said. 

“We are proud of the growth and development we gave to hundreds of people.

“I wish Laurie and his wife Rita well for the future.”

The Bakery Hill building is the location of the discovery of one of the largest gold nuggets in the world, the Welcome Nugget.