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McDonald's closes branches in Sri Lanka over poor hygiene

(Image courtesy: Ada Derana)

International fast food chain McDonald's announced that it will close all branches with its franchise partner in Sri Lanka, following reports of a failure to adhere to international hygiene standards.

At least 12 McDonalds outlets have been indefinitely closed, leaving nearly 300 employees in the lurch after the Colombo High Court issued an injunction restraining restaurants operating in Colombo and its suburbs under the McDonald’s brand from operating.

The injunction order was issued after a complaint from the parent company over a dispute in their agreements. Many social media users were quick to share photos of McDonald's restaurant hoardings being brought down or removed. 

There were restaurants in Kotahena, Nugegoda, Kiribathgoda, Battaramulla, Kollupitiya, Rajagiriya, Welisara, Mount Lavinia, Colombo City Centre, Macleod Road restaurant and Shangri-La restaurant.

In the court document, the plaintiff pleads that there are approximately 300 employees who are working across these outlets. The shutdown stems from allegations that local franchisee Abans failed to maintain the required standards of cleanliness.

According to a report on Numbers.lk, the shutdown will last until 4 April 2024.

McDonald’s attorney Sanath Wijewardane said, 

“The parent company decided to terminate the agreement with the franchisee due to standards issues. They are not in business in the country. They may decide to return with a new franchisee.”

Meanwhile,court filings shared on X (formerly Twitter) also show that Abans illegally operated a McDonalds outlet at One Galle Face. Three others at Mt. Lavinia, Colombo City Centre, and Macleod Rd also had no franchise agreements. Another three – Colpity, Rajagiriya and Welisara -- had expired contracts.

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