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McDonald’s Egypt changes name to dodge consumer boycott

Mena Report
28 April 2002


Following mounting consumer pressures, the American McDonald’s fast-food chain has reportedly decided to change its brand name in Egypt to Manfoods, in an attempt to dodge a consumers’ boycott launched against corporations identified as conducting business in the Jewish state, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.

In light of American support for Israel, popular committees in Egypt have lately been calling to widen the boycott against US-made products and services. The recent campaign launched against American companies includes the distribution leaflets and stickers to schoolchildren and SMS messages sent to cellular phones. The blacklist includes McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, American cigarette manufacturers, Heinz and many more.

Over the past weeks, McDonald’s Egypt has posted announcements in local newspapers denying rumors that its workers have donated a day’s-pay for Israel. Other ads condemned Israeli raids in the Palestinian occupied territories. At the same time, Egyptian police forces have been ordered to guard the entrances to McDonald’s restaurants, after stone throwing incidents have taken place in recent weeks, as well as the arson of a Kentucky Fried Chicken branch.

The Egyptian-owned Manfoods is the sole agent of the McDonald's franchise in Egypt. Manfoods holds a 40 percent stake in the joint stock company McDonald's Egypt, while McDonald's International and Egypt’s Orascom Group hold the remaining 40 and 20 percent respectively. The company employs 3,000 workers in Egypt.

Last year, McDonald’s Egypt added McFelafel to its menu, in an attempt to attract local customers. However, the move, which was accompanied by an extensive advertising campaign, eventually failed and brought to an end. — (