Tear down the arches
Why are McDonald’s restaurants closing all over the UK?
I was walking along the high street of my new neighbourhood when I noticed a shop front that looked to be recently vacated. Staring carefully at the place where the business sign used to be, I could make out the outline of the word McDonald’s.
How fantastic! Any McDonald’s closure is a good thing for animals. This particular branch had minced up and sold dead animals for more than 30 years and now it was gone. But why are these stores closing and does it even mean people are eating more compassionately?
After running a few Internet searches for closed stores in the UK, it appears McDonald’s have been on a campaign of closing outlets for several years. The web is full of stories of local people mourning their recently shuttered MCDonald’s.
The trend of non-profitable high street McDonald’s is not just limited to the UK, with reports of closures in Australia and news of the company even trialling a home delivery service down under to halt falling profits. So do this mean people are turning their back on meat? Not necessarily.
Run a search on the fastest growing fast food chains in the UK and your results will still be strewn with meat, it’s just likely to be dressed up in a fancier way.
Some of the fastest growing fast food businesses in the UK are the high end dining experiences such as Byron. There would also seem to be record-breaking interest in specialty food providers such as Itsu, Wahaca and numerous ‘ethnic’ food chains.
It appears the meat eaters of the UK are tumbling out of McDonald’s and into the likes of Bill’s, Nando’s and the sort of places where the price paid for a meal is significantly higher. The posh fast food joints are scurrying into the empty shop fronts left by MCDonald’s as it slinks away to set up destination outlets in cheaper locations such as motorway junctions, jumbo shopping outlets and airports. Wasn’t there talk of them even trying to muscle into hospitals?
Meat is still being served. The way it is presented, dressed up, commodified and romanticised is changing.
A shuttered McDonald’s is a celebration for sure but it is also a reminder that people are still being peddled dead animals, it’s just they are being charged more money in a more attractive setting for the displeasure. As activists and educators, our work is far from over.