Northland Police are searching for three people who robbed McDonald's at Kaikohe armed with a shotgun and an axe, leaving staff members terrified.

Police said staff at the Kaikohe store were shutting down the fast-food restaurant and clearing the tills on Wednesday night at about 11pm when the robbery occurred.

At the time the restaurant was locked and closed to the public.

The robbers entered the store by smashing the bottom pane of the front door using an axe.

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One was armed with what appeared to be a single-barrelled shotgun, and another with the axe.

The three were heavily covered up, wearing bandannas over their faces and gloves.

Police said two of the robbers made their way behind the counter and directed a staff member to empty money from the tills and the office.

The offenders emptied the money into a bag and left the store through the broken glass pane.

The terrifying incident was all over in just over a minute but it was heavily traumatic for the staff present.

Police said it was a pre-planned targeted offence which placed those staff members in real danger.

Police said the three robbers are a risk to the public who need to be held accountable for their actions, and they should be treated as dangerous.

One of the men, who is seen holding the axe, is wearing a grey hoodie with 'Raiders' across the front.

McDonald's released a statement relating to the robbery.

"We're assisting police with their investigation and staff at the Kaikohe restaurant are being provided support, which includes counselling," a spokesperson said.

"McDonald's restaurants have a number of security measures and protocols in place, which we continue to assess to best protect our people."

The restaurant was back open for business yesterday.

The armed robbery was caught on camera and police are asking for help from the public to identify the robbers.

Anyone who has any knowledge that may assist in the investigation is urged to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report it to their local police station.