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No McDonald's in Iceland - Why?

McDonald's may seem to be everywhere, but there are still 105 countries without the fast food giant, from Ghana to Jamaica to Yemen to Tajikistan - and to Iceland. And in six countries, McDonald's once had a presence, but due to economics, and sometimes politics, the franchises closed. Iceland is one of those places.

The Salt food blog on NPR.org recently published a story headlined 'Where In The World Are There No McDonald's?'

Still, Jack Russo, a consumer goods policy analyst with the financial services firm Edward Jones, tells The Salt that McDonald's is well-represented overseas.

"Two-thirds of their total revenue is outside of the U.S.," Russo says.

The company has 34,480 restaurants in 119 countries, including Cuba and France, where it's especially beloved, even by foreigners.

You won't find a Big Mac if you visit the Vatican City. And if you are one of the rare foreigners to make it inside North Korea, you won't find one there, either.

"If you want a definition of what the rich world and the poor world are, well, if you can get a McDonald's, you are in the rich world," Centeno told The Salt. "If you look at where these restaurants are located, it doesn't map on to culture; it maps on to money."

In the isolated island nation of Iceland, their McDonald's departure had more to do with economics.

Jon Gardar Ogmundsson owned what was one of only three McDonald's restaurants in the country for about six years before he had to shut his doors after 18 months of financial struggle in 2009.

"When we were importing goods, it was doubling and tripling in price," he says. "We always thought in Iceland our currency would recover, but it hasn't, even until today."

People stopped buying burgers at his McDonald's franchise. But the financial crisis didn't keep him out of the burger game. Now, he owns a locally sourced "green line" fast food restaurant called Metro.

And, Ogmundsson says, with his newfound ability to price his products as he chooses, and offer more health-conscious meals for discerning Icelanders, Metro "is actually doing quite well."

 

Click here to read the full story from The Salt

 

 

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Last modified on Saturday, 03 August 2013 12:29

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