It's hard to think of a country in the world where you'd be surprised to see a McDonald's restaurant, or at least a drive-through offering. The fast food giant is currently listed in 119 countries around the world with more than 34,480 restaurants, which combined, serve an estimated 75 hamburgers every second. That's a lot of hamburgers.
You can find McDonald's in some pretty far out locations, too: next to Cuba's Guantanamo Bay prison, in the middle of the Negev Desert in Israel, beneath the Museum of Communism in Prague, and even inside an old grounded airplane in New Zealand.
In 2009 Iceland’s currency, the krona, suffered a dismal collapse and all three McDonald’s restaurants in the capital city of Reykjavik were forced to close. While there are no plans to re-open, government officials aren’t keen to have them back either, preferring to look at the possibility of setting-up a local variation-chain (it may be called Metro) with regionally sourced ingredients that would be better for growing their economy in the long run. Photo Credit: iStock/ ThinkstockClick Here to see the More Countries that Banned McDonald's
From Dubai to Abu Dhabi to Oman, there are McDonald’s aplenty in the United Arab Emirates. Yemen, however, is not feasting on any Big Macs, due partly to the dilapidated economy (McDonald’s won’t open a franchise unless it’s economically viable in a territory, which is why the food giant is often used an economic indicator of a country’s wealth and financial stability), and partly because of the occasional threat by religious militants that they will target U.S. establishments in the area. Photo Credit: iStock/ Thinkstock
In 1999 McDonald’s tried to build its first restaurant in Bermuda, but the local population pushed back so hard that a law was passed banning all franchised restaurants in the country. "It is not Bermudian. McDonald's cheapens wherever it goes," commented 83-year-old Bermudian resident Phyllis Harron, in the local newspaper. Photo Credit: iStock/ ThinkstockClick Here to see the More Countries that Banned McDonald's
Just over ten years ago McDonald’s crept into Montenegro’s capital Podgorica with a tiny mobile restaurant over the summer. It was popular and business was brisk but the government just wasn’t having it! Montenegro has long been resistant to big global brands moving in to dominate the market, which forces out smaller business ventures. It was also concerned with the health of its residents, siding with local restaurants that McDonald’s fast food was too unhealthy and people had “bigger things to worry about.” Photo Credit: iStock/ Thinkstock
The world’s largest landlocked country, located in Central Asia, is also the largest country that’s said no to having McDonald’s. Though that may (or may not) soon be changing — local media in the country’s capital Astana are reporting that a major shopping mall has confirmed the food giant will be moving in soon. Watch this space! Click Here to see the More Countries that Banned McDonald'sPhoto Credit: iStock/ Thinkstock
Still, McDonald's isn't everywhere; there are scores of countries around the world (mostly in Africa and Central Asia) where the golden arches have yet to set up shop. Then there are some countries that have outright banned the food company from entering its borders altogether. Some countries, like Montenegro, have said no to McDonald's to push back against globalization, i.e. big global brands dominating their market and forcing out smaller franchises. Other countries, like Bolivia, closed down all its McDonalds restaurants, affecting a pseudo-ban because the fast food chain just wasn't profitable. Not that Bolivians don't like hamburgers -- it seems the population was just not sold on the concept of super-fast food.
Then there are countries that, after resisting McDonald's best courting rituals for years, finally gave in and let it in. Two months ago, Vietnam opened its first McDonald's in its capital Ho Chi Minh City. This follows the long line of global brands like Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, and Domino's Pizza that have slowly but surely been filtering into Vietnam over the years. No matter what the reason for refusing to allow McDonald's to set up shop, these countries (at least most of them) are still holding firm against the fast food brand for now. Read on to see how many countries have banned McDonald's.
-Serusha Govender, The Daily Meal