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Are There Countries Without McDonald's?

Are There Countries Without McDonald's?

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Vietnam is set to get their first McDonald’s, where the countries (if any) that don't have a McDonald's franchise?

There are still 105 countries that don’t have the international chain.

Surprisingly enough, not every country in the world is home to a McDonald’s. According to NPR's The Salt, Vietnam is actually expecting their first franchise in Ho Chi Minh City in the next year.

Research shows that there are still 105 countries that have yet to be infiltrated by the global chain, including Bolivia, Ghana, Jamaica, Yemen, Tajikstan. More surprisingly, in other countries, McDonald’s franchises have had to close due to slow economic sales.

However, according to consumer goods policy analyst Jack Russo, two thirds of McDonald’s total revenue comes from outside the United States.

Today, there are 34,480 restaurants in 119 countries. Exceptions to the chain exist however, such as the fact that you won’t find a Big Mac at the Vatican or in North Korea.

Franchises don’t always close because of economics, sometimes politics can play a part. In the case of Macedonia, there were disputes between one of the owners and the American headquarters. In Bolivia, the government closed all franchises in 2002 in order to stop the attempts of multinational corporations to “dominate global markets by imposing their customs and foods.”

Where In The World Are There No McDonald's?

Countries like Cambodia still have yet to gain their own McDonald's franchise, but other American fast food chains, like KFC, have done well here.

Recent news out of Vietnam intrigued us here at The Salt. Ho Chi Minh City is set to get its first McDonald's sometime in the next year, according to the company.

It seems Vietnam is ready for the iconic American food, and McDonald's is confident that Vietnamese consumers now have enough disposable income to get hooked on shakes, burgers and fries.

That got us thinking about the global reach of one of the world's most iconic food companies.

Princeton University's International Networks Archive created this map to show the global presence of McDonald's. Jonathan Harris/Princeton University hide caption

Princeton University's International Networks Archive created this map to show the global presence of McDonald's.

Jonathan Harris/Princeton University

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 in six countries, McDonald's once had a presence, but due to economics, and sometimes politics, the franchises closed.

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.

Miguel Centeno is a sociologist at Princeton University. He was part of a team that created maps to track globalization one of them is called "The Fries That Bind Us," a colorful look at McDonald's and its reach worldwide.

"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."

It also sometimes maps onto politics. One of the most recent closures this May was in Macedonia after disputes between a franchisee and the American headquarters. And in the case of Bolivia, the government said they'd rather not have fries with that in 2002, when all McDonald's franchises there were closed.

Just listen to Bolivian President Evo Morales talk about his lack of love for fast food, and you might begin to understand. He recently railed against Western fast food chains during a speech in February:

"The major multinational food companies seek to control the production of food and to dominate global markets by imposing their customs and foods. The only goal of such producers is to generate profits. So they standardize food and drinks, turning them into global foods produced on a massive scale with the same formula. They are not interested in the health of human beings, only in their earnings and corporate profits."

But as Tanya Kerssen, a food policy analyst with the Institute for Food and Development Policy tells The Salt, Bolivians eat fast food, too.

No McDonald's In These Locales

Here are a few countries out of the 105 in the world where you won't find McDonald's fries or burgers.

  • Bermuda*
  • Barbados*
  • Cambodia
  • Jamaica*
  • Ghana
  • Montenegro
  • Yemen

* Denotes countries that have had at least one McDonald's restaurant, since closed.

"Many people have suggested that Bolivians rejected McDonald's out of a cultural preference for traditional, healthy, local and 'slow' foods," Kerssen says. "But a beloved snack is the salchipapa — french fries topped with slices of hot dog, slathered in ketchup and mayonnaise. Most Bolivians, as far as I can tell, love burgers and fries."

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."

This Is the One U.S. Capital That Still Doesn't Have a McDonald's

With more than 39,000 restaurants in 100 countries, McDonald's is one of the largest fast-food franchises in the world. It is also one of the busiest, feeding a whopping 68 million people per day—about 1% of the world's population. You could say that Mickey D's is the unofficial cafeteria of the world. So how is it possible that there still remains one U.S. state capital that doesn't have a single McDonald's restaurant?

The chain currently operates restaurants in every U.S. state capital except in Montpelier, Vt., which is incredible when you think about it. That means you can get a Big Mac as far out as Honolulu—even Juneau. But if you're looking for Golden Arches in the Green Mountain State's capital, you'll need to keep on trucking.

Make no mistake: McDonald's does business in Vermont. As of 2016, the franchise had 30 Vermont locations—not the strongest presence, but at least better than North Dakota, which has just 29. So what could account for McDonald's absence from Montpelier—culturally and politically one of Vermont's most visible cities? Vermonters over on Reddit have their theories. Some believe it comes down to the fact that there's already a McDonald's in the neighboring town of Barre. Another speculated that Montpelier is simply holding out for bragging rights.

McDonald's has attempted to set up shop in Montpelier before. In 1996, a Montpelier landlord, Jeff Jacobs, applied for a permit to convert a historic bank building into a McDonald's restaurant. Jacobs' request was denied, on the grounds that a Mcdonald's at the proposed location (a busy intersection) would create traffic problems. Jacobs appealed the decision to Vermont's Supreme Court and initiated an $8 million lawsuit, but neither case made it to court.

Jacobs' story is in keeping with larger trends in Montpelier. As Business Insider noted in a 2017 article on the topic, Montpelier is better disposed to local businesses than it is to large national chains, and so the fast-food giant's absence from the capital city is, in some ways, unsurprising. A case in point: nether of McDonald's top two competitors—Burger King and Wendy's—has restaurants in Montpelier.

Ultimately, being the only state without a McDonald's in its capital does remain one of Vermont's calling cards. Bernie Sanders, one of Vermont's most famous residents, certainly has no problem tweaking the fast-food chain. It's not personal, though. Just a Vermont thing.

For more, check out There's New Legal Drama Around McDonald's Soft Serve Machines, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

McDonalds was reportedly considering opening up branches in Ghana by early 2011. But plans were put on hold when it appeared that the citizens of the African nation wouldn’t have enough income to become regular customers.

Until May, McDonald's operated seven fast food restaurants in Macedonia for about 16 years. But a dispute between McDonald’s European head office and Macedonian company that runs the franchises has apparently led to the termination of their agreement. No telling is McDonald’s has plans to continue operating in Macedonia.

Are There Countries Without McDonald's? - Recipes

Love it or loathe it, the big golden arches provide an instantly recognisable landmark on the most unfamiliar of skylines around the world. For many travellers McDonald's represents a safe and often cheap meal, even if a highly unimaginative one. For others it may be considered a useful stop as the cleanest free public toilets in town. Either way when passing through many parts of the world it's easy to believe that the red and yellow American fast-food giant has conquered the world.

It might be reassuring therefore to know that there are still a healthy number of countries that have yet to experience the cultural delights of the Big Mac or the Filet-o-Fish. Whether they have just said no,non, nyet, nej, etc or whether they have flirted with McDonald's before giving them the elbow, there's many a place where the fast food giant has failed to make its mark.

Here is just a selection of 10 of these countries where you'll have to make do with the local variety of fast food:

1. North Korea (ok, not so surprising here)

2. Seychelles (proof that a tropical paradise does not need to serve Big Macs to be complete)

3. Syria (as a member of George Bush's Axis of Evil it is not considered worthy enough to have a McDonald's)

4. Vatican City (the smallest country, yet it is packed with tourists who would no doubt welcome a happy meal)

5. Cambodia (it's on the cards apparently, but for now the millions of visitors to Angkor Wat have to do without the reassuring taste of home)

6. Zimbabwe (an argument for regime change surely, if one were needed)

7. Vietnam (old wounds run deep?)

8. Nepal (shame, as they could easily claim to be the highest McD's in the world - would a Quarter Pounder taste any better at 4000m?)

9. Kazakhstan (the largest country in the world to be McDonald's free)

10. Barbados (one outlet opened in 1996 and closed six months later due to poor sales)

And conversely, here are 10 surprising places where McDonald's has successfully arrived:

Iraq (ok, the McDonald's is hidden away in the Green Zone)

Qatar (maybe swung the World Cup vote?)

Japan (not surprising that they are in Japan, but more so that they have 3,500 outlets there more than anywhere in the world outside the US)

So next time you have a hankering for meat in a bun in a box and feel guilty for supporting an all-conquering global imperialist capitalist machine, take some reassurance from the fact that there are some corners of the world that, for whatever reason, will never be lovin' it.

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This is where it gets super complicated. There are 193 UN member nations, plus Vatican City and Taiwan would make 195. This would mean though that you would then count somewhere like Guadalupe as part of France. We therefore suggest the list is closer to 260. Check the YPT list of what counts as country to get their take on things. By this metric McDonalds is in less than 50% of the worlds nations, although not landmass (Russia, USA, China all having McDonalds franchises).

McDonalds in how many countries? McDonalds is in 117 countries. At least by our metric.

Why did McDonalds fail in Iceland?

An interesting fact about Iceland though is that it doesn't have a single McDonald's, 7-11 or even a Starbucks. Actually, until just a few years ago Iceland did have McDonald's three of them in fact. Iceland seems to do just fine without these giants of the consumer world, offering instead its own unique brands.

Similarly, why is there no Starbucks in Iceland? There's no Starbucks in Iceland It's a side effect of being a small country, we don't want other bigger countries to take over. So we tend to prefer Icelandic shops, and we already have two pretty big café chains, Kaffitár and Te og Kaffi, plus a lot of local or smaller cafés.

Furthermore, what country did mcdonalds fail in?

Why there are no McDonald's in this country in South America But there is one Latin American country that flat out rejected Big Macs and McNuggets: Bolivia. Watch this video to find out why the American fast food chain had to pull back from the Bolivian market after five years.

How many Mcdonalds are there in Iceland?

Reykjavík is currently the only Western European capital city without a McDonald's restaurant, as Iceland is one of only a few countries in the world where the hamburger chain has no restaurants. The US based fast food franchise once operated four restaurants in Iceland, but the last of these closed its doors in 2009.

Which countries in the world do not have a McDonald's?

There are several dozen countries in the world without a McDonald's. A complete list is here:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi
Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba
Djibouti, Dominica
East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana
Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan
Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya
Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, The Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar
Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, North Korea
Palau, Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan
Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu
Uganda, Uzbekistan
Vanuatu, Vietnam, Vatican City
Zambia, Zimbabwe

How close are we?

Three others and myself tried the copycat Big Mac. It's an exact copy. Exact. The flavor is dead on, and the beef even finished a little greasy just like a McDonald's burger does thin and ground beef is the right combo for sure. The "special sauce" tastes exactly like McDonald's own, and even cheating the sandwich a little by using a bottom bun for the middle one didn't affect the texture. The kicker is the rehydrated onion that's what really gave it a McDonald's feel. The copycat Big Mac tastes exactly like a Big Mac — no lie, you throw this in a Big Mac box and you'll fool your friends and family 11 out of 10 times.

The McDonald's restaurants in the United States have plenty of yummy sweet treats (McFlurry, anyone?) But in France, they literally have a McCafe either attached to the restaurant or even in an entirely separate building. Various muffins, croissants, macaroons, pies -- French McDonald's restaurants have it all. Many people in Europe are known to start their day off with a decadent, sweet treat before eating healthier throughout the rest of the day, so it makes sense that this is a prominent offering in Europe. If only it were in other countries, though!

Melissa Binns is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. She has a degree in Communications with a concentration in Journalism. While her passion is writing, she also enjoys living vicariously through someone else's travels, being embarrassing on social media, and dogs.

Watch the video: Top 10 Countries With NO McDonalds (June 2022).


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