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This Week at McDonald's

(For details of the latest protests and opposition to McDonald's,
please see This Week's Campaigning)

18 July - 6 August 1996

Big Mac plumps for amateurs

1st August 1996, The Stage (UK)

Casting agents searching for stars for a new McDonald's advert are bypassing Equity members and choosing members of amateur dramatics groups instead.

One hopeful said: "They told us that the production company wants four people aged between 25 and 50 of either sex but they cannot be vegetarians. Apparently they don't want actors, just your average man or woman off the street. They said it would be a one-off payment of 1,000."

An Equity spokeswoman said the union could not stop agencies using ordinary people for adverts. She stressed the union always advised against one-off "buy- out" payments.


22nd July 1996


From Stonehenge to the British Embassy in Berlin, private money is being used to develop our public spaces. It will cost us dear in the end, argues Deyan Sudjic.

Britain is now so poor, the Treasury is telling us, that it can no longer afford to build its own embassies, its ministries or even its museums. Instead it is falling back on the traditional refuge of the desperate, living beyond its means on hire purchase.

Of course, it doesn't put it in quite those words, preferring to describe its latest wheeze as the Private Funding Initiative. It talks the language of value for money as it unveils with an entirely straight face such apparently satirical notions as providing an appropriate setting for Stonehenge by renting it to McDonald's, or offering developers the site earmarked for the new British Embassy in Berlin for any use that they can turn a profit on, provided they find room for the chancery and the ambassador's office in the basement.

Hire purchase is about the most expensive way to acquire anything.

But private funding has nothing to do with value for money, or with architectural quality. Rather, the Government is in the business of financial engineering in the scrabble to slice every possible tax-cutting and vote-winning pound off the public sector borrowing requirement in time for the next general election.

Jocelyn Stevens at English Heritage has decided not to trouble the public purse for the cost of providing suitable visitors' facilities at Stonehenge. Instead, he is going down the same route as the Foreign Office [concerning the Berlin Embassy] and inviting bids from, among others, McDonald's to finance the building. Stevens starkly defends the prospect of bringing the Golden Arches to witin sniffing distance of Britain's greatest archeological monument with his usual breezy self-confidence. But a Britain which is prepared to bring fast food in styrofoam boxes to such an extraordinary site has diminished itself.

Washington Times, USA

18th July 1996


McDonald's won clearance from Italy's anti-trust authority to acquire the 80-store Burghy hamburger chain. This makes McDonald's the premier fast-food chain in the country.

McDonald's can now locate along the historic canals of Venice and among the jewelry stores of Florence for the first time.

Independent, UK

22nd July 1996

Paul Vallely on Chinese efforts to curb obesity

It was the original fast food - in China at any rate - but the traditional stir-fry is giving way to something altogether less healthy. The world's most populous nation is starting to grow fat on a diet of cheeseburgers and doughnuts. Government officials in Peking are not amused.

Chinese authorities at the weekend launched a campaign to get their people to revert to Chinese food when in search of a fast fill. An increase in levels of obesity - as much as 10% of the population of Shanghai is now overweight - has led Communist Party officials to pledge that comparable standards of speed and hygiene would be introduced into indigenous catering outlets in an attempt to fight off the foreign invader.

How wise they are. Consumer goods are the vanguard of the forces of capitalism. Fast food outlets are its shock troops. And it is the burger which is the standard-bearer of Western economic hegemony.

McDonald's bore the colours through the collapsing Berlin Wall. Early Western tourists into Budapest reported that queues were a quarter of a mile long outside McDonald's there.

Now already it seems in the case of China the new markets are succombing to our old diseases. Good revolutionary ailments like stomach cancer could be ousted by the coronaries of economic imperialism. (Thanks to their diet almost 40% of Americans are now obese; it was only 25% in 1981.)

Meanwhile, the inexorable conquest of the world by the Big Mac continues. Another 2,500 [McDonald's] outlets are to open this year - a new one every three hours.

No one, it must seem to the Peking authorities, is immune from the virus. Yesterday news came that Chinese women gymnasts are bypassing the salad bar in the Olympic Village dining tent and heading for the golden arches at the back and loading up with french fries and hamburgers. McDonald's, it transpires, is an official sponsor of the Games. No wonder the chopsticks are out back home.

Myers, Fletcher & Gordon - Press Release

July 1996

Court Stops McDonalds Opening in Kingston Jamaica

After a bitterly contested court hearing that lasted for many weeks, a Jamaican High Court Judge has granted an injunction baring McDonald's Inc, the multinational hamburger chain, from opening in Kingston, Jamaica.

In 1994, McDonald's decided to open outlets in Jamaica, and brought an action against a Jamaican company which had been operating a resturant under the same name since 1971. The Jamaican company counterclaimed for an injunction to bar the American company from opening in Kingston.

On July 5, Justice Chester Orr ruled in the Jamaican company's favour and granted an injunction against McDonald's Inc. The injunction will remain in force until the trial of the action which is not expected to take place until 1997 or 1998. The American multinational was also ordered to pay the Jamaican company's legal costs.

McDonald's Inc has already built a restaurant in Kingston. The 'Opening Soon' sign outside the restaurant will now stay up for much longer than the American company expected.


On Saturday July 20, McDonalds opened their restaurant in Kingston under the name "Golden Arches", in apparent contradiction of the Jamaican High Court's injunction.

Falmouth newspaper, UK

28th March 1996

"McDonald's to open 750,000 pound restaurant" The international burger giants have submitted planning applications for the old Mitchell and Webber site at the corner of Drcaena Avenue and North Parade. If approval for the site, which is relatively small and on a busy road, is withheld, McDonald's say they know of other sites available in the town. The only other McDonald's in Cornwall is at Fraddon. But the firm plan to open another 70 or 80 stores in the country this year.

Falmouth newspaper, UK

18th July 1996

"Burger chain's 'drive-thru' plan falls through" McDonald's will not be opening a "drive-thru" restaurant on the former Mitchell and Webber site in Dracaena Avenue, Falmouth. Carrick councillors last week voted 13-7 to refuse the company's planning application for the site.

Planning officer John Sloper said he had received "lots" of written objections to the scheme. Recommending refusal, he said that if the council allowed the application by McDonald's, it could set a precedent for other fast food companies, which would drain trade from the town centre. He was also concerned about a loss of industrial land. Members expressed concern about the proposal's likely affect on traffic. Some thought the restaurant plan would be welcomed in a town centre site, but not on the outskirts.

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