It wasn't orders for Big Macs, but complaints about a big mess that a central city McDonald's had to contend with on Saturday night.

The manager at McDonald's Quay St said keeping up with clearing rubbish left by revellers and diners on "big event nights" has become an impossible task.

The footpath in front of the restaurant was littered with takeaway remains, leftovers, paper bags - and even vomit.

Thousands of revellers were in the city celebrating St Patrick's Day.

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Although the litter was on a council-managed area, the restaurant took responsibility for cleaning up the litter but its staff just couldn't cope.

"We have to meet orders from hungry customers at the restaurant, while at the same time face complaints from others about the mess outside," said the manager, who wanted to be known only as Jin.

Bathilda Edeltrand, a tourist from Germany, who went there after a night out at the Viaduct, said the mess was "disgusting" and she was "amazed at how people in New Zealand can enjoy their burgers sitting around litter and vomit".