McDonald’s discriminates against Black franchisees, says lawsuit

Sept 1 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp has been sued by 52 Black former franchise owners who accuse the fast-food giant of racial discrimination by steering them to depressed, crime-ridden neighborhoods and setting them up for failure.

In a complaint seeking up to $1 billion of damages, the plaintiffs said McDonald’s has not offered profitable restaurant locations and growth opportunities to Black franchisees on the same terms as white franchisees, belying its public commitment to diversity and Black entrepreneurship.

The complaint said McDonald’s saddled the plaintiffs under its standard 20-year franchise agreements with stores requiring high security and insurance costs, and whose $2 million average annual sales from 2011 to 2016 were $700,000 below the nationwide norm. Bankruptcy often resulted, they said.

“It’s systematic placement in substandard locations, because they’re Black,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Jim Ferraro said in a phone interview. “Revenue at McDonald’s is governed by one thing only: location.”

The plaintiffs are suing in Chicago federal court five weeks after McDonald’s updated its corporate values, pledging a greater focus on diversity.

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The one McDonald’s in the world where its arches are blue

McDonald’s might be known for its golden arches, but there’s one location where the arches are blue — not yellow.

In 1993, the chain was building its Sedona location when city officials protested the chain’s iconic color scheme. They feared that the gold would clash too much with the city’s natural red surroundings. The teams agreed on a turquoise blue, a huge flip from its iconic logo, but the rest is history. 

There’s a spaceship-themed McDonald’s in New Mexico

Although the infamous Roswell UFO incident of 1947 took place some 75-miles out of the city, that hasn’t stopped believers from flocking to the southeastern destination.

When building the city’s McDonald’s in the 1990s, the fast-food company went above and beyond to create a place that was on-brand for the location. It’s not just the architecture that follows an extraterrestrial theme: the art and murals within the restaurant’s galactic motif. 

You can visit the Hamburger University at the chain’s global headquarters

If you’re ever in Chicago, make sure to add the chain’s global headquarters to your itinerary and get a taste of the most popular menu items from around the world. The university is a real school where students can focus on leadership and development. It’s even more difficult to get accepted to than Harvard. 

The fanciest McDonald’s is in Ohio

This McDonald’s in Independence, Ohio, trades golden arches and playrooms for with grand chandeliers and cascading staircases. 

Only two states are home to over 1,000 McDonald’s

California and Texas have the most McDonald’s in the country, with California home to 1,286 and Texas home to 1,189. Florida comes in third, with 907. 

You can get lobster at McDonald’s in Maine

When in Maine! The McDonald’s in Freeport used to be the state’s only McDonald’s, but now there are 62. Seafood lovers can even add lobster rolls to their orders.

The oldest McDonald’s in the world dates back 66 years 

California is home to 1,286 McDonald’s, the most in the country, including the oldest location! 

The McDonald’s at 10207 Lakewood Blvd., in Downey, was built back in 1953. From a fishbowl kitchen to a single arch "Speedee" sign, it’s been unchanged from the day it opened almost seven decades ago. 

You can step back in time with this McDonald’s in Massachusetts 

Complete with white and black checkerboard tile flooring, vinyl booth and neon decor, this retro-inspired eatery in Fairhaven is giving us major nostalgic vibes.

This New York McDonald’s is the most charming 

Fans of the chain go wild over this McDonald’s located off of Jericho Turnpike for its charming and Southern-inspired architecture, complete with an elongated porch and shuttered windows.  

This McDonald’s looks like a train

All aboard the McDonald’s in Barstow, California! The restaurant is home to a few more culinary tenants at Barstow Station, which is built out of 16-strung together train cars. Customers can dine in passenger train cars, which seem to have quite the following on Instagram.

The state with the least amount of McDonald’s is…

North Dakota is home to the fewest amount of McDonald’s in the country, with 25 locations. Vermont is home to 26, Washington, D.C. to 27, Wyoming to 29 and South Dakota to 30. 

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Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski told CNBC in June that diversity was “critically important” and needed to touch “every single aspect” of its business.

He also defended McDonald’s record, saying the Chicago-based company had “created more millionaires within the Black community than probably any other corporation on the planet, but there’s still work to do.”

Ferraro called that claim “total hogwash,” saying the number of Black franchisees has fallen to 186 from 377 since 1998.

More than 90% of McDonald’s 14,400 U.S. restaurants were recently operated by about 1,600 franchisees.

The company updated its values before suing ousted Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook to recoup his estimated $41.8 million severance package for allegedly concealing improper sexual relationships with three employees.

Easterbrook said the lawsuit is “meritless.”

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