For those of us who have seen the light of day, opposing the fast food industry and what is reflects about society, is pretty easy – especially in the case of McDonalds. But let’s face it, there are millions of Americans who, for their own reasons, flock to the golden arches for their daily fix.
However, what is to be said when a Mickey D’s wants to open a construction of a 24-hour drive-through restaurant in a neighborhood where an overwhelming majority of the residents don’t want it anywhere near them?
Ask the folks from Australian village, Tecoma, about 20 miles from Melbourne.
The answer your likely to get is something along the lines of, “please STOP your plans to build here where you're not wanted!”
Tecoma activist ‘MurrayandJan Lancaster’ posted the above comment on the American fast-food giant’s Aussie Facebook pagelast month, and there are dozens of other sentiments like it.
Over the past couple of years Tecomaresidents, along with other Australians from urban centers like Melbourne, have been fighting the opening of a McDonalds restaurant in the quaint community (population approx. 2000). One of their concerns is that the proposed site is adjacent a national park in the Dandenong Ranges, which may increase unwanted traffic. Another reason why people do not want McDonalds to set up shop in Tecoma is that the location lies near a
The movement against a McDonalds in this neighborhood is so great that a team of activiststraveled from Tecoma, Australia, to Mickey D headquarters in Chicago, IL, to lodge a petition – some 96000 strong – just to be heard.
While McDoanlds has the legal grounds to open its doors in this vicinity, why would it want to continue to do so when so many people have expressed their distaste for what they deem ‘corporate bullying’ on McDonald’s part?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Australian consumption of McDonald’s junk (no judgment here) has been declining over the past year. In which case their obstinate stance in Tecoma, where they plan to press ahead, makes some sense from a purely business point of view.
It is easy to demonize corporate Australia in a situation like this. However, the real party to hold responsible are Tecoma’s local council members who allowedthe fast food giant to build in the first place back in 2011.
Ironically, in a very ‘corporate responsible’ move last week, McDonald announced its plans to make a number of health-related changes to its menus in certain countries (which represent 85% of its market), by 2020. The move comes in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to reduce childhood obesity.
McDonalds has been coming under serious pressure from several fronts on home turf on its questionable food quality as well as unethical marketing towards children. It has had to introduce healthy options in its kids’ meals such as fruit slices and milk instead of soda. In 2012, the world's No. 1 hamburger chain to started listing calorie information on menus all over the U.S. even before it became law to do so.
San Francisco was the first major U.S. city to prohibit fast-food restaurants from using free toys as incentives to get kids to order high-calorie meals in 2011– essentially targeting McDonalds.
The company told BBC News:
"We have followed due process every step of the way to build a family restaurant on a highway that houses a number of food and service outlets. The area is appropriately zoned, we have an approved planning permit and we are moving forward.
"We know that there is much support in the community and our obligation is to ensure that those who want a McDonald's in the community have that option."
Granted that the restaurant will bring jobs to the community, which is what some advocates for the McDonald’s proposal, are citing, the community has spoken, “We said NO Dammit!”