The Unlikely Reason A McDonald's Drive-Thru Expansion Hit A Speed Bump

McDonald's restaurants are so numerous that no matter where you go in the world, you're likely to come across those familiar Golden Arches. But just because there's a McDonald's in every neighborhood doesn't mean the chain is always welcome. That's the case, at least, for one town in Australia. 

As The Daily Star reports, a McDonald's Australia branch in Cremorne, Sydney, was planning a £315,000 (roughly $386,000) drive-thru expansion. The new drive-thru would have included a dual-lane window "capable of serving 14 extra people at any one time." While this obviously would have been a boon to McDonald's, the plans fell through when the Cremorne town council moved to block any construction from happening. The reason for this interference was given by a spokesperson for the North Sydney Local Health District.

"There is a concern that increasing accessibility to fast food, via an expanded drive-thru, may negatively influence the eating habits of children and adults," said the spokesperson, adding that the additions to the McDonald's drive-thru could "undermine" existing efforts to decrease obesity rates. In other words, the council members didn't want McDonald's to expand because they thought the townspeople were "already too fat," as phrased by The Daily Star.

Did Cremorne's council really call its people fat?

Presumably, a council member wouldn't call their constituents fat unless they wanted to be thrown out of office. While the council's actions were probably in efforts to prevent people from eating more fast food rather than to be insulting, McDonald's has presented a bit of a problem in Australia for quite some time. 

CNN reported that in 2013, the town of Tecoma east of Melbourne actually fought against having a McDonald's in the area, albeit more out of concern for the natural environment than for human health. Triple M, meanwhile, shared that many health experts feared that the over-expansion of "Macca's" would worsen "food deserts," a term for areas that lack access to nutritious foods. Rather than dine on healthy options, people in these areas would eat primarily at McDonald's, their logic said. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that in 2017 and 2018 alone, two out of three Australian adults could be considered overweight or obese, perhaps contributing to the Cremorne town council's concerns about increasing residents' access to McDonald's meals. While everyone has a different opinion about whether or not a council should be able to control a company's decisions, Australia isn't the first country to have some qualms with the Golden Arches — McDonald's is banned in several countries.