4 Countries That Got Rid of McDonald’s

For better or worse — and I’d vote the latter – McDonald’s is practically synonymous with American culture. It’s hard to even imagine not seeing the fast food corporation every few blocks. Some lucky countries don’t have to imagine, however. While McDonald’s currently has restaurants in 118 countries, here are four countries that managed to get the company to close shop:

1. Iceland

Well, if there’s one positive to having an economic collapse, it’s that it might motivate McDonald’s to get out. When the economy tanked in 2009, McDonald’s found it impossible to earn profits, particularly since the country’s remoteness made operating expenses higher than in other areas. After 16 years of doing business in Iceland, McDonald’s opted to close its existing restaurants and said that it “had no plans to return.” I don’t know if that was supposed to be a threat, but I can’t imagine Iceland is all that disappointed by the decision.

2. Bolivia

While much of Latin American is enamored with McDonald’s, Bolivia finally got the fast food company to abandon its posts in the country in 2002. Although the corporation tried fruitlessly to turn a profit for the better part of 14 years, eventually it had to concede that its concept wasn’t catching on in Bolivia.

This time, it wasn’t because the country was “too poor” to support the chain; collectively, Bolivians chose to make wiser food choices. Culturally, Bolivians cherish food so seeing meals prepared cheaply and haphazardly didn’t attract many patrons to the businesses. The government didn’t need to pass explicit laws to get rid of McDonald’s; the population’s lack of patronage took care of it naturally.

3. Macedonia

McDonald’s opened several restaurants in Macedonia back in the late ‘90s, but as of this year, none of them are currently in operation. A contract dispute between the McDonald’s headquarters and SJ Company, the business responsible for franchising the restaurant chain in the country, could not be resolved, necessitating the doors to be locked indefinitely.

So far, it’s unclear whether McDonald’s will try to find franchisees to resume business in the country. If they try to re-open down the road, hopefully the former patrons will have already moved on to healthier foods.

4. Bermuda

It’s no wonder Bermuda is a popular vacation destination – it’s one of the few places where “getting away from it all” actually includes McDonald’s. The country enacted a fairly strict Prohibited Restaurants Act in 1977 to prevent foreign franchises from taking over the country’s own economy.

That didn’t stop McDonald’s from sneaking in in 1985. The company set up shop on a US military base purportedly “for the troops” but inevitably thousands of Bermudans started dining at the establishment, as well.  When the military base closed 10 years later, the Bermuda government made McDonald’s hit the road. Despite repeated attempts by the fast food giant to return to the island nation, Bermuda has managed to keep it out ever since.

Photo Credit: David_mcmt


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago

thanks for the article.

Oleg Kobetz
Oleg Kobetz2 years ago

Thank you.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F.2 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago


David Nuttle
David Nuttle3 years ago

What would all the poor biotech and chemical companies do if most of us stopped consuming their products in the form of foods contaminated with harmful elements they created for profit? The glyphosate from Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is used so widely in factory farming it is now in nearly all non-organic food products. University research studies have indicated that glyphosates have caused cancer and sterility in lab animals. Most of us have now become lab animals for the biotech companies. Keep in mind that Monsanto and Dow produced the Agent Orange (w/ dioxin) responsible for killing over 500,000 Vietnamese ... and also causing over 400,000 extreme birth defects in Vietnamese infants. Then and now, these biotech companies have claimed that Agent Orange was and is a safe herbicide. Yet, the VA pays millions of dollars in health care costs for veterans who suffer horrific health problems due to exposure to Agent Orange. This is why Monsanto and other biotech companies have expended millions of dollars to prevent any requirement for GMO labeling of our foods.

Sheryl Bradakis
Sheryl Bradakis3 years ago


Hugh W.
.3 years ago

I have high praise for those that try to add healthy foods to the food deserts in so many of our cities. I especially like what the woman on CNN Heroes and the gentleman on the Ted talk in South Central are doing. Keep up that great work!!!!

All of these preservatives and GMO food is really making us sick and making our healthcare costs skyrocket.

Ana MESNER3 years ago

Slovenia -what are you waiting for?

Carla van der Meer

Good for these countries! Everyone should do this. I especially love reasons why the Bolivians did it, food should be more important to all of us, where it comes from, home it is grow, transported, prepared and marketed, along with the ethics of the company.It seems that the corporations are deciding for us, insteadof the other way around and with something as crucial as food, it is time to take that power back. If these people can do it we all can.

ScoTT Senate
ScoTT S.3 years ago

It sounds like the people of these countries just refused to go there, and McDonald's realized there were no profits there. Unfortunately, such a method can't work here. We are so indoctrinated and addicted to our fast food. They say Once Bitten Twice Shy, but it isn't true. Here it's more like Once Bitten Once Addicted.