Which countries have McDonlalds – and which do not….

McDonlalds

Which countries have McDonlalds – and which do not? And are there any interesting McDonalds based anecdotes you can share? The Street Food Guy delves deep…

But, this is not a question that has a simple answer, with there being examples where McDonald’s is is in a country, but not on land owned by that country, as well as the really important question of “What counts as a country”

How many countries is McDonalds in?

According to official McDonalds stats they re in 118 countries as of 2024. Yet while this might sound impressive, they are not actually the biggest fast food chain in the world. Said 118 countries have a total of 40,000 “restaurants”

The elephant own the room here though is what counts as country? And this puts McDonalds slap bang into one of the most soften argued points by travelers.

Key examples of what counts as a country, but might cause controversy are Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. In fairness to them though I recognize these and other fast food restaurants use the same system.

You can read what counts as a country here.

5 surprising countries that have a McDonalds

Cuba

OK, so lets get this random trivia question that is a bit of a cheat out o the way. The McDonalds in “Cuba” is actually at Guantanamo Bay.

This means that for all intents this is just another McDonalds in the USA. Cuba of course has El Rapido, which serves rum and is much more civilized.

Venezuela

You know America hating Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela? Well while they might not like capitalism all that much they have made an exception fro Ronald McDonald.

As things stand there are 133 restaurants within the country.

Georgia

So you know that “theory” that no two countries with a McDonalds would go to war? This was disproved when Russia and the Republic go Georgia went to war.

Russia of course no longer have a McDonalds, but thats a story for later.

Vietnam

A truly late entrant to Vietnam arriving in just 2014. Their growth here has been extremely slow and in 10 years only 20 restaurants have been opened.

Why is this? Factor in the Vietnam War and you will know why they came so late, factor in Lotteria and Jolibee and McDonalds just cant cut the mustard, or rather Spaghetti….

American Samoa

Already mentioned and one that should not surprise all that much really. What makes this sone stand out though is that alongside Tahiti and Fiji it is the country in the Pacific to provide a happy meal!

Interestingly though it has proved highly controversial as it sits on some prime oceanside real estate. And I have not only been, but an attest that it looks cheap and nasty.

Which countries don’t have a McDonalds?

By the YPT rules of engagement there are 260, or so countries in the world. That means that at 118 McDonalds are surprisingly present in less than half of the worlds countries and territories.

And when you now factor in that McDonalds is no longer in Russia then Ronald McDonalds travel map does not look all that impressive.

So, why would countries not have a McDonalds? There are a number of reasons, with much of it being down to how developed a country is and if they can actually afford it.

There are also countries that have had a McDonalds and now don’t, for various reasons. And lastly? McDonalds is not all that important to much of the world.

5 surprising countries that don’t have a McDonalds

Cayman Islands

OK so probably not that much of a surprise, nor one that many would care about, but I lived here and know the funny tale!

Basically there is a guy that already has a restaurant called Macdonalds and he does not want to sell. In reality the fact that the guys that own Burger King oppose it may also play a part.

Cambodia

Now this one really is a surprising one as not only is McDonald’s in most every country surrounding the Kingdom of Cambodia, but the country is very franchise friendly.

Again likely a case of certain interests being protected, You can though get KFC, Carls Junior, Burger King and a whole heap of other random shit.

Ghana

The non pun intended elephant in the room when it comes to McDonald’s in Africa. This is a big westernized fairly wealthy country, yet the Big Clown cant get in here.

This seems to be largely a political choice and is likely one that will not last forever.

North Korea

OK, so this is not exactly a shock, but it is an area of interest as I run North Korea Tours. Yet while this is not that much a shock, there has been talk of McDonald’s and KFC coming in.

This occurred in the late naughties and early 10’s when some economic opening centered around the Ryugyong Hotel was discussed. And of course had the Trump-Kim summit worked out mw who knows. Trump 2024 and McDonalds in North Korea? Just maybe……

Iraq

Another country hat briefly had a McDonalds as part of the American occupation of the country. Theres constantly talk of them entering the market with there being Facebook pages, as well as even April Fools jokes.

They will almost defiantly enter Kurdistan at some point, but there will be competition……

Iraq currently has one of the most iconic McDonalds rip off restaurants in McDonal, which is well worth a visit!

Countries that formerly had McDonalds

As well as countries that have never had a McDonalds there are also a number where frankly it just did not work out, such as….

Iceland

The most well known McDonalds divorces was that of Iceland. There are various rumours about why they had to leave, but in waawnsb it was ll very simple.

Iceland had a financial crisis, the supplies became too expensive and they had to close. Since then the country have pretty much decided that losing McDonalds was no big deal.

Macedonia

Had a bunch of McDonald’s restaurants util their European franchisee took away their license. It is unknown exactly why this was done.

This happened in 2013 and while there has been talk of a return it has not happened yet.

Bermude

Another strange case as they quite literally banned foreign restaurants in the Kate 1970’s, although KFC were grandfathered in.

A McDonalds was allowed to open on a US military base for a while, but they are unlikely to ever come back.

Russia

The most famous of the former McDonalds club, this is because the franchise withdrew with regards to the invasion of, I mean special military operation in Ukraine.

But you know what, they just made their own version of the damned thing in the empt restaurants. Interestingly I asked a Russian diplomat if they would succeed with this, to which he replied “We make sophisticated nuclear weapons, I think we can handle a Big Mac”. Fair point….

Former Countries that had a McDonalds

So, we shall finish up our which countries have McDonalds and which do not by talking about former countries and McDonalds. This will also give us the chance to talk about communist McDonalds.

In the mid to late 80’s McDonalds tried to make their mark in the opening of the Eastern Block. This saw them open restaurants in many countries that still exist, but also two very important ones that do not.

The first McDonalds to open in the eastern clock was in Belgrade in 1987, the first ever communist Ronald McDonald. This was of course in Yugoslavia, which of course is no longer with us.

And the other entrant? Why of course Moscow 1991, withe quest outside still being iconic. It was though alas as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics AKA the Soviet Union.

And that is I believe the most ferment and authoritative guide to which countries have a McDonalds and which do not in 2024.

You’re welcome…

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