I’m lovin’ it! That’s just one of the many well-known slogans McDonald’s has had over the years. But, there are some places around the world that definitely are not loving it. According to WorldAtlas.com, there are 90 countries without a McDonald’s. Some of them had a McDonald’s there once upon a time, but closed it down due to various reasons. Below are some places where you won’t find a Mickey D’s.
1. North Korea
Even though McDonald’s is banned in North Korea, the country’s leader Kim Jong Un is a huge fan of McDonald’s burgers. How can that be, you ask? Well, rumor has it that communist leader secretly smuggles them in from a McDonald’s in South Korea. According to a 2011 report, Kim Jong Un and members of his regime were using the country’s national carrier, Air Koryo, to get Big Macs delivered to their homes. So, why smuggle them in when he could just allow a McDonald’s to be built in North Korea? Because he’s opposed to anything even closely related to the capitalist West. Go figure.
Bermuda has had a law banning foreign fast-food restaurants since the 1970s. However, McDonald’s found a loophole in 1985 by building one there on a U.S. Naval Air Station in St. George’s Parish . The station closed in 1995, and McDonald’s closed along with it. The company attempted to open one again some years later but was met with resistance from locals. Resident Phyllis Harron said, “It is not Bermudian. McDonald’s cheapens wherever it goes.” But, even if residents did want it, it’s still prohibited by law.
FUN FACT: Bermuda also has a ban on billboards and neon signs.
There used to be a McDonald’s in Iran before it became the Islamic Republic. But, that location shut down in 1979 following the revolution. That, however, hasn’t stopped the country from capitalizing off the McDonald’s brand with their own knock-off version that goes by the name of Mash Donald’s. Just about everything at the Mash Donald’s in Tehran resembles its American counterpart — right down to the white-faced clown. But, there is one exception, however: the food. There’s the Mash Donalds baguette burger, a variation of the Big Mac. It comes with a mix of meat, cheese, and turkey ham. There’s also the Mash Donald’s Falafel sandwich and the Mash Donald’s 1.5 foot long super sandwich, among other items.
FUN FACT: Tehran also has a Burger House, Pizza Hat, and K.F.C. (Kabooki Fried Chicken).
There are two reasons why there isn’t a McDonald’s in Yemen: 1) The country’s economy is a bit unstable, and McDonald’s does not want to operate a business in any location that is not deemed economically viable, and 2) Yemen extremists have threatened militant action against any McDonald’s that opens there. Thankfully those residents who do crave the juicy deliciousness of a Big Mac can get one from one of the many McDonald’s locations nearby in parts of the United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and in nearby Oman.
Once upon a time there were eight McDonald’s restaurants in Jamaica. But, the chain announced in 2005 that it would shutter all eight locations in mid October of that year. The closures were part of a “business decision,” Maria Elena Santana, a spokeswoman for the restaurant company’s Caribbean Division, said, according to QSR magazine. “At the moment, we cannot continue to serve Jamaicans the way they deserve and expect,” Santana added. According to an article published by The Daily Telegraph, the restaurants closed because the burgers weren’t big enough to satisfy the appetite of hungry Jamaicans and because there was a lack of investment.
At one time McDonald’s operated seven restaurants in Macedonia, most of which were in the capital city Skopje. They all thrived, too. But, in 2013 they were all forced to close due to the fact that the local franchisee lost his license. Some say it was over a dispute between the franchisee and the head of McDonald’s European offices. Either way, their agreement was terminated in 2013, and all McDonald’s locations in Macedonia were shut down immediately, thus ending a successful 16-year run.
A major economic crash in 2009 is what led Iceland to close all three of its McDonald’s restaurants. Even though the country has since gotten back on its feet financially, they have yet to welcome McDonald’s back. That’s because the Icelandic government decided to focus on building a local chain that uses regionally sourced ingredients rather than reopening the fast food restaurant. After all, they have a reputation to uphold as one of the healthiest countries in the world.
FUN FACT: Media estimates say that some 15,000 Icelanders flocked to McDonald’s every day during its last week of operation.
There were plans for McDonald’s franchises in Zimbabwe‘s capital city Harare, but a massive economic collapse in the country in 2000 brought those plans to a screeching halt. There were talks in 2010 about once again trying to bring the franchise to Zimbabwe. But, according to McDonald’s International Franchising, nothing has been made concrete yet.
FUN FACT: There is a McDonald’s Zimbabwe page on Facebook. According to the Facebook account’s description, it is a parody page. It has nearly 400 likes so far.
The last McDonald’s in Bolivia closed in 2002, following a tense relationship between the restaurant and Bolivia’s citizens and government. McDonald’s is “not interested in the health of human beings, only in earnings and corporate profits,” the Bolivian president said, according to an article published by Reader’s Digest. As for its citizens, they opposed McDonald’s because they didn’t want to go to a massive global corporation to buy hamburgers. As a result, the fast-food giant was operating at a loss. Consequently, the restaurant decided to cut its losses and go elsewhere, although rumors have been swirling about a planned return sometime in the future.
Some years ago a tiny mobile McDonald’s operated out of a trailer in Montenegro. But, it closed in 2003 after the government and local businesses teamed up to prevent McDonald’s from opening a permanent location in the country. In fact, a report published in the Vienna Review suggested that the government didn’t want McDonald’s there due to concerns about the health of its citizens. However, that claim has since been refuted in a press release the government issued stating that “no company, not even McDonald’s, is forbidden to do business in Montengro.” Ironically, there’s still no McDonald’s there.
Perhaps these places will one day change their minds about McDonald’s. For now their residents will have to visit one of the approximately 36,900 outlets in over 100 countries if they ever get a hankering for Mickey D’s.