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McDonald’s grows cold on Iceland costs

Stephen Beard Oct 27, 2009
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McDonald’s grows cold on Iceland costs

Stephen Beard Oct 27, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

The golden arches will soon disappear from Iceland. McDonald’s is closing three restaurants on the island because of soaring costs. Here’s our Europe correspondent Stephen Beard.


Stephen Beard: The move is a psychological blow to Iceland. Before its banks collapsed a year ago, it was one of the richest countries, per capita, in the world. Now it’s poor, and it will soon join the ranks of other impoverished European nations like Albania and Bosnia that don’t have a McDonald’s.

The sharp fall in the Icelandic currency is to blame. Under the franchise, the restaurant’s owner, Jon Gardar Ogmundsson, has to import most of his ingredients. But that’s now prohibitively expensive with the fall of the krona.

Jon Gardar Ogmundsson: It has actually toppled our food-costs price. I mean one kilo of onions costs almost the same as a bottle of whiskey.

Some Icelanders expressed shock at the loss of the McDonald’s brand, but local farmers are happy. The restaurant’s will soon reopen under a different name using only local produce.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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