Crime-Plagued McDonald's Forced to Take Drastic Measure
A McDonald’s location that became infamous for a viral video of a brawl oddly involving a raccoon is finally closing its doors, the company says.
The franchise owner of the McDonald’s on Rideau Street in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, has confirmed that the location will be shuttered based on “a business decision based on the viability of this specific site,” Fox Business Network reported.
The Ottawa restaurant, which is far from the only McDonald’s with issues, had become a constant focus of the local police as violence, drugs, and criminality plagued the location in Canada’s capital city.
The place was so problematic that former Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau contacted the CEO of McDonald’s Canada in March of 2019, saying, “Officers attend this location on a daily basis to address issues including vagrancy, liquor license violations, illicit drug use, and incidents of violence,” according to Fox Business.
The network reported that Ottawa police had been sent to the location an astounding 900 times in 2017, 843 times in 2018, and responded 14 times in only two days in 2019.
“If you’ve got a criminal mind this is a target-rich environment,” Police Inspector Ken Bryden said in 2019.
The problems haven’t gone away since then.
“The past three, four years of COVID, it’s just turned it into complete trash,” Ottawa resident Hayley Gleiser told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in an article published Jan. 20.
“I was here about a week and a half ago,” diner Jack Graham told the CBC. “And I just felt I was slipping, so I looked … and there’s a needle.”
The store reached the height of notoriety in 2014 after a video of a brawl inside went viral in which one man in the background was briefly seen pulling a raccoon out of his shirt and holding the animal up as if showing it the fight. The same man was seen later in the video with the raccoon tucked safely back in his sweatshirt.
World’s ‘worst’ #McDonald‘s will shut down after nearly 40 years: #Canada fast food store that sparked 900 police call-outs over fights – including one involving a RACCOON – will not renew its lease pic.twitter.com/lFeeLf4W5G
— Kaotic videos (@Kaotick_videos) January 21, 2023
The location has been open since 1985 and even the current mayor of the city, Mark Sutcliffe, said he used to frequent the restaurant when he was a teen, according to the CBC.
Franchise owner Adeel Hashmi said that the closing will occur at some point in April, according to Fox Business Network.
“As the proud franchisee of multiple McDonald’s restaurants in the Ottawa area, our goal is to deliver the best possible experience to our guests every time they visit us,” Hashmi said in a statement to Fox, provided by McDonald’s Canada.
“The closure of our restaurant on 60 George Street is a business decision based on the viability of this specific site,” the restaurant owner added. “We hope our guests in the Ottawa region will visit one of our other restaurants. We are pleased that all our managers and crew will continue their employment at one of our other locations in the region.”
Worlds worst McDonald’s in Ottawa, Canada is finally shutting down after 900 police calls and viral raccoon fight. Watch video here: https://t.co/IZRHbDWEYQ pic.twitter.com/rjRvC3gTlO
— CapCityHipHop (@capcityhiphop_) January 21, 2023
McDonald’s restaurants in the United States are also having problems with crime.
Locations in Chicago, where the McDonald’s corporation has its headquarters, are particularly prone to trouble. Crime is so bad in the Windy City that the fast food giant’s CEO says he is having problems finding employees there.
“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question. ‘What’s going on in Chicago?’ There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis,” CEO Chris Kempczinski said in September, according to Fox Business News. “Truth is, it’s more difficult for me to recruit a new employee to McDonald’s to join us in Chicago than it was in the past.”
New York is also a rising problem. A McDonald’s employee was murdered last year when a customer at a Brooklyn, New York, location shot the man when an order of french fries turned out to be cold.
McDonald’s is far from the only company scaling back its operations in some of the hemisphere’s biggest cities.
Last year, Chicago billionaire Gary Rabine pulled his companies out of the Windy City because his employees had become fearful of even going to work in the high-crime city. Billionaire hedge fund operator Ken Griffin also fled Chicago and moved his operations to Florida.
Boeing also decided to dump its Chicago headquarters and move to Virginia, according to a CNBC report in May, though the aerospace giant gave business and political reasons for the move, rather than crime.
California is also losing businesses due to crime. Last October, Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith announced that he was shutting down his San Francisco location due to rampant crime, Walgreens shuttered a large number of stores in 2021 because it was losing too much money to retail theft. In August, Geico Insurance closed up all its offices in the entire state of California.
Crime has become a serious problem for businesses in big cities all across the fruited plains. If it isn’t gotten under control soon, businesses will continue to flee these inner-city neighborhoods leaving residents with fewer stores than ever to fulfill their daily needs.
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