The McDonald's Buyout That Made New Zealanders Furious

McDonald's started its journey to global domination in 1967, and today, there are 36,000 McDonald's outlets, some of which are in the globe's farthest corners. The restaurant franchise arrived for the first time in New Zealand in 1976. The island country now has 167 outlets, per McDonald's, receiving over a million patrons weekly.

According to research and statistics company Roy Morgan, if one had to go by the foot traffic that McDonald's, KFC, and Domino's Pizza experienced, they were the most popular restaurants in New Zealand in 2018. As we know, these three restaurants have one thing in common: They are all American.

While these fast food monoliths may be high and mighty, they have all had their faux pas as well. Domino's Pizza made a job seeker's application public, and then ridiculed it, per Stuff (Ouch!), and KFC dropped the ball when they ran out of chicken nationally in April 2020, per Flava. McDonald's bone of contention was somewhat less embarrassing, although it still raised the ire of the Kiwis.

McDonald's Georgie Pie quandary

Georgie Pie, an indigenous pie outlet, opened a whole decade after McDonald's arrived in Kiwi Land, per Teara. While considered the competition for McDonald's, the local food chain took losses until eventually, they started closing stores. In 1996, McDonald's bought out Georgie Pie, remodeling its stores into McDonald's outlets, and doing away with its product — pies. Whatever McDonald's anticipated, they did not foresee the public outcry that was to come.

A cult-like following seemed to surface all over the country. As a testimony to the breadth of the public discontent, an internet campaign was launched with a dedicated site called Bring Back Georgie Pie, per Franchise. A Facebook page calling for the reinstatement of what was for many, a fond childhood memory, also accrued more than 50,000 likes.

What could McDonald's do but concede? They committed to adding the old company's signature pie to the McDonald's menu in an attempt to appease the masses. New Zealanders reacted with an enthusiasm that affected McDonald's sales by 5.8%, per The New Zealand Herald. As exemplary as this story of public opinion is, the interest in the pie waned before the decade was out, and in June 2020, McDonald's New Zealand released a communique stating its intention to end its production of the legendary Georgie Pie, per Stuff.