Skip to main content

War on Gaza: McDonald's buys up all Israeli franchise restaurants after boycott hits sales

McDonald's sparked outrage in many countries after Israeli franchises announced free meals for soldiers last October
Pro-Palestine activists and supporters wave flags and hold placards along with a Guy Fawkes mask as they walk past a McDonald's during a protest in central London on 30 March 2024 (Benjamin Cremel/AFP)

McDonald's has bought out all the franchise restaurants in Israel after seeing a sales hit due to boycotts.

Bloomberg reported that McDonald's Corp has decided on the buyout from Alonyal Ltd, taking direct control of the operations several months after its Israel franchise became a focal issue during the early stages of the war on Gaza.

"McDonald's remains committed to the Israeli market and to ensuring a positive employee and customer experience in the market going forward," said Jo Sempels, who leads the McDonald's segment that oversees international markets with licenced restaurants.

According to Calcalist, an Israeli financial news website, the chain intends to search for a new franchise for its Israeli operations a few months after finalising the acquisition. McDonald's announced that the deal with Alonyal hinges on specific prerequisites, and that the transaction is expected to conclude in the next few months.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Over 30 years ago, Alonyal introduced the McDonald's brand to Israel, expanding the business to include 225 locations and over 5,000 staff members, Bloomberg reported.

Local franchise operators run the majority of McDonald's stores around the world and in many ways act as independent businesses.

McDonald's sparked outrage among pro-Palestine activists last October when its Israel franchise announced it was giving free meals to Israeli soldiers in its branches in the country.

This prompted franchise operators in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan to publicly criticise the actions.

In a statement a few days later, Chris Kempczinski, the CEO of McDonald's, said that the company "firmly condemns violence and hate speech" and feels "deeply disturbed by the acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia", Bloomberg reported.

CNBC reported that the company saw fourth-quarter sales slip in the Middle East in the wake of the distribution of free meals to Israeli soldiers. The region accounts for two percent of McDonald's global sales and one percent of its global earnings before interest and taxes.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.