McDonald's: Iran, Bermuda, North Korea...these countries have banned the fast food chain

McDonald’s is one of the most successful fast-food companies in the world but it has not been successful in all countries. Here are the places where the brand failed to take-off.

These countries have banned McDonalds
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These countries have banned McDonalds

McDonald’sis one of the largest fast-food chains which has seen global success. But despite McDonalds having over 38,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, the brand has not had unanimous global success. In fact, there are many countries where McDonald’s failed to stay on and had to pack-up and leave.

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The reasons why McDonalds chain have been banned or ousted range from social and economic to political grounds.

As reported by World Population Review and The Daily Meal, here are some of the countries where McDonalds have failed to establish themselves due to a number of different reasons.


After the revolution of 1979, relations between the Middle Eastern country of Iran and the US rapidly deteriorated, which led to the last McDonald’s in Iran closing shop in 1979. With McDonald's corporation being a ruling symbol of American culture and capital, the company was banned and had to leave the nation.

However, a taste for McDonalds food still remains in Iran as exemplified by the local substitute for the fast-food giant, called Mash Donald’s.


Bermuda passed a law that banned foreign franchises in the country altogether in 1977 due to a variety of social and cultural reasons.So all foreign chain including McDonald's have to leave the country. The general idea was that big corporations might take away from its 'old-world charm,' which was important for their travel and tourism sector.

There was a single McDonald’s on a US military base in Bermuda that remained exceptionally operational for some time. When the base closed in 1995, so did this last remaining McDonald’s restaurant. There wasn't another McDonalds restaurant that was ever allowed to reopen here ever again due to the current law.

McDonald's could not survive the local competition in Jamaica and had to leave Jodi Jacobson


McDonald’s restaurants first opened in Jamaica in 1995, and though the beginnings looked promising for the global corporation, the reality was that it could barely survive for the next 10 years. McDonald’s had to leave the country in 2005.

As per available information, the main reason for McDonald’s inability to last here was due to difference in local food preferences and competition from local food business. With Jamaicans preferring their traditional chicken and seafood over burgers, any McDonald’s restaurant did not have any chances of long-term survival here.

Read also: McDonald's: This is where the very first restaurant of the fast food chained opened


Another country where McDonald’s business model did not work is Bolivia. A big corporation like McDonald’s went against everything that the social and cultural ethos and local cuisine stood for, including valuing fresh produce and the time it takes to prepare a good meal. The government too did not like the idea of McDonald's chain in Bolivia.

This is why McDonald’s shut shop in Bolivia in 2002 and there is presently no information as to its possible return.

McDonald's did not work in some countries because the corporation's values did not match the local ethos Zhang Peng


Iceland was home to a couple of McDonald’s restaurant but these had to be closed in 2019 after its massive financial crisis. All ingredients that McDonald’s restaurants use needs to be imported according to the company’s regulation. According to Iceland Review, the collapse of Iceland's currency at that point led to the import of meat, cheese, vegetables and similar article, necessary for McDonald’s, becoming so expensive that the franchises could not withstand the financial burden and had to close.

Any new McDonald’s restaurant have not opened again in the following years.


The small nation of Macedonia in the Balkans too was part of the global expansion of McDonald’s corporation years ago. In fact, it used to have 7 McDonald’s restaurants in Skopje, the capital city, but McDonald’s restaurants had to close to due administrative reasons. The sole owner licensed to run McDonald’s restaurants here lost their contract in 2013 and so ended the business for McDonald’s.


McDonald’s attempted a soft opening in Montenegro in 2003, with a small ‘mobile McDonald’s.’ Although people seem to like it, the government and local businesses were not equally charmed by the global corporation’s attempt at establishing themselves in the small country. And since then McDonald’s restaurants have never taken off here again.

McDonald's could't work in some countries because the timing was just not right Edwin Remsberg


The African country of Zimbabwe was just on the verge of getting their own McDonald’s franchise in 2000 but it did not end up happening. The country suffered a terrible economic collapse, which led to McDonald’s corporation reconsidering their global expansion plan in the country.

So McDonald’s has since not been opened here because of economic and logistical reasons. Since there's no actual bad blood between the country and the corporation, there is a chance we might see McDonald’s restaurants popping up here in the near future.

North Korea

North Korea's dictatorial regime does not allow for any kind of global business or international contact. The country has a very tight embargo on news, travel as well as media, with people having almost zero contact with the outside world. Hence, needless to say, it's just impossible for McDonald's to have opened here in the past or to be opening in the future anytime soon.

Sources used:

World Population Review: 'Countries without McDonald's'

Reader's Digest: ' 9 Countries That Have Banned McDonald’s'

Iceland Review: ' McDonald’s Closes Shop in Iceland'

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