McDonald’s, perhaps the ultimate symbol of American consumerist culture and fatty antics, has managed to gain serious traction in multiple countries around the world (see Japan, India, Singapore). The chain’s nearly world-wide takeover has turned it into a global brand, rather than a strictly American one, and most travelers assume they’ll spot the golden arches no matter what nation they travel to. While the menu offerings at McDonald’s across the world may vary, the cartons of french fries, cheap prices, and quick service offer a sense of familiarity.
But don’t go looking for Mickey D’s in Ghana, Tajikistan, Yemen, or Iceland, because there aren’t any. These four nations are just a small sampling of the 105 countries where Ronald McDonald is impossible to find. Often enough, a country’s lack of McDonald’s can be attributed to the chain’s corporate overlords, who believe there’s not enough disposable income in that country to get the population hooked on a diet of milkshakes and french fries. Other times, the lack of McDonald’s in a specific country is due to political factors. The McDonald’s in Bolivia shuttered its doors when Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, made it known that he was definitely not McLovin’ it. Here’s what Morales said about the burger chain in a speech he gave earlier this year:
“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.”
Regardless, McDonald’s still manages to make two-thirds of its revenue outside of U.S. borders. It’s safe to assume that the chain’s international revenue will only increase, seeing that Mickey D’s is set to open it’s first location in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam next year, a city that is far from nascent when it comes to American brands. KFC has already established quite a presence in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as in many other cities where McDonald’s does not exist. KFC is not the only fast food giant that’s putting McDonald’s’ global presence to shame—Coca-Cola has managed to get it’s bottles of sugary fizz poppin’ in nearly every nation. There’s no doubt McDonald’s will soon catch up, leaving only North Korea as the final frontier for big name fast food chains.