A bomb scare at McDonald's in Orewa was a false alarm after a customer left without her suitcase.

Franchisee Cherie Harlock said a customer came up to her about 1.30pm to say a woman had left her suitcase unattended in the restaurant.

"I went and had a look and sure enough, she was right."

The manager called 111 while Harlock and the rest of her staff evacuated the restaurant.

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There were about 15 staff and 30 customers in the building.

Police then turned up to cordon off the area.

"The police arrived, cordoned off all the areas, and they investigated it and actually found the lady that owns the suitcase. She went and picked it up."

Harlock was not told why the woman left her suitcase behind.

The whole incident took about 45 minutes, but business was back flowing smoothly now, Harlock said.

She was impressed at how her staff had handled the situation, given they'd never had anything similar happen before.

"They all knew what to do, where to go, which was impressive."

Harlock was also pleased someone had come to tell her about the suspicious suitcase.