With the collapse of the Icelandic currency, the krona, McDonald’s licence holder Lyst has decided to shut down the three McDonald’s restaurants in Iceland and reopen them as Metro.
The reason for McDonald’s closing is that costs doubled over the past year and even though sales have never been better the margin is so low that they feel they cannot sustain the business. A statement sent out by Lyst today said prices would need to go up by some 20 percent for McDonald’s to survive.
“The reason for us closing McDonald’s is the difficult economy and the collapse of the Icelandic krona,” Jon Gardar Ogmundsson, the owner of Lyst, told MBL.is.
McDonald’s will be replaced by a new Icelandic brand, Metro owned and operated by Lyst and will serve similar products as McDonald’s did before. The primary difference will be that Metro will use more local products, including bread, meat and vegetables; whereas McDonald’s currently forces Lyst to import the goods.
These changes are being made in co-operation with McDonald’s and the Metro restaurants will serve food in the same spirit and speed as has been done with McDonald’s over the past years.
This means that both McDonalds and Burger King (as reported by Icenews in Dec. 2008) have given up on Iceland – or more accurately, that their Icelandic franchise holders have given up on them. But all is not lost for globalised fast food lovers: you can still find Subway, KFC and Taco Bell in the country.
There is perhaps a slight irony in the fact that McDonald’s first ever customer in Iceland in 1993 was David Oddsson, the free-market championing Prime Minister at the time and recently-dismissed Central Bank manager.
At the time of writing, it is not yet known who will be the last McDonald’s customer. But there are already individuals planning to claim the accolade.