McDonald's Israel

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McDonald's Israel
מקדונלד'ס ישראל
Master franchise
Industry Fast food
Founded 14 October 1993 (1993-10-14) in Ramat Gan, Israel
Founder Omri Padan
Headquarters Ga'ash, Tel Aviv, Israel
Number of locations
180 standard restaurants
50 kosher restaurants (2015)
Area served
Key people
Omri Padan, Owner, Chairman and CEO)
Owner Alonyal Limited
Number of employees
6,000+ (2015)
Parent McDonald's Corporation

McDonald's Israel (Hebrew: מקדונלד'ס ישראל‎, translit. Maqdonald's Yisra'el‎) is the Israeli master franchise of the fast food restaurant chain McDonald's. Operated and licensed by Alonyal Limited (Hebrew: אלוניאל בע"מ‎‎, Alonyal Ba'am), McDonald's Israel is the largest[1] of Israel's burger chains with a 60% market share.[1] The company sells hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries and soft drinks in branches across the country. Since its opening in Israel in 1993, McDonald's Israel has been in competition with Burger Ranch, Israel's second large burger chain.[2] The world's first kosher McDonald's opened in Mevasseret Zion in October 1995.[1]

McDonald's Israel is owned and run by Israeli businessman Omri Padan. Padan is President of Alonyal Limited which is local licensee for McDonald's.[3] Currently McDonald's has 180 restaurants in Israel, with 50 of them under Kosher supervision,[4] meaning they are closed on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, have no dairy products (such as cheeseburgers), and for Passover serve the meat on Passover buns. In Israel most branches are non-kosher since they serve cheeseburgers (which are non-kosher, i.e. do not conform to traditional Jewish dietary law) by special request (they are not on the menu) and they serve milk-based desserts (ice cream, milkshakes). Some of the kosher branches serve milk products in a separate section of the restaurant. McDonald's Israel does not operate restaurants in the West Bank and Golan Heights.[5]

McDonald's Israel sources over 80% of its ingredients locally. This includes kosher beef patties, potatoes, lettuce, buns and milkshake mix.[3]



A McDonald's in Ashkelon, Israel (2007)

Due to the Arab League boycott of Israel, McDonald's did not open in Israel until 1993. The first branch was at the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan.[6] In the wake of a controversy over importing French fries to Israel, the American fast food chain built a plant to manufacture frozen French fries in Israel at a cost of $5 million US.[7]

In 1994, the Golani Interchange branch aroused controversy when the restaurant installed a large 'golden arches' sign in front of the Golani Brigade museum and memorial. Bereaved families and other citizens claimed this desecrated the site. The sign was later reduced in size.[8][9]

In 1997, McDonald's Israel opened its first branch in an Israeli Arab city. The restaurant was in Tamra, 27 kilometers (17 mi) northeast of Nazareth, and the menu was bilingual, in Hebrew and Arabic.[10]

In 1998, McDonald's Israel decided to barbecue hamburgers on charcoal instead of frying.[1] This represented a shift in McDonald's policy, which previously required uniformity at all the locations. In the wake of this decision, grilling equipment was installed at the restaurants, and the size of the patty and bun were increased.[1]


McDonald's sign in the middle of a desert near the Dead Sea.

In 2004, the company was criticized for ordering its Arabic and Russian-speaking staff to speak only Hebrew during work hours, to "prevent uncomfortable situations for workers and clients who mostly speak Hebrew,"[11] but the order was subsequently withdrawn.[12]

In 2006, the international chain's trademark yellow and red signs were replaced at two branches in Tel Aviv with blue and white signs with the Hebrew word "kosher" in order to avoid confusion over which branches were kosher.[5][13] This redesign is the most radical departure from McDonald's standard logo although they have made minor changed in places such as the Champs-Elysées (which requires signs in gold) and Hampstead to meet local regulations.[5][13]


McDonald's Israel, in June 2013, turned down an offer to open a restaurant in Ariel in June 2013, citing its declared policy not to open any branches in West Bank settlements across the Green Line.[14]


While McDonald's operates several Kosher and non-Kosher restaurants, all the meat served in the restaurants is kosher beef.[3] The difference is that the non-Kosher branches open on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, in addition to serving dairy products.[3] A kosher McDonald's was also opened in Argentina, at the Abasto de Buenos Aires shopping mall. Argentina and Israel are the only branches in the world that barbecue their burgers on charcoal.[15]


Similar to McDonald's charitable efforts in the other countries they operate, McDonald's Israel has donated hundreds of thousands of NIS to charities which benefit children such as Schneider Children's Hospital, "Make A Wish Association", and "The Fighting Cancer Association."[3] In 2000, McDonald's Israel participated in the global children's recognition program, McDonald's/Disney Millennium Dreamers, which celebrated 2000 children from around the world for their achievements. Six children represented Israel at a global youth summit in Orlando, Florida, United States.[3] McDonald's Israel also has its own "McSmile Program," which sponsors trips for children recovering from cancer.[3]


The regular McDonald's menu has some additions catering to local tastes. McKebab (Hebrew: מקקבב‎‎) is served in pita. Israeli salad was added to the menu in 2007. In January 2011, McDonald's Israel introduced McFalafel (Hebrew: מקפלאפל‎‎) in all its restaurants,[16] but has been removed from the menu in July 2011. McDonald's Israel also serves the Big America series, which consists of six burgers- the Big New York, the Big Texas, the Big Chicago, the Big Miami, the Big Las Vegas and the Big Broadway. All of the burgers are served with either a 0.5 pound patty (225 grams) or a 0.275 pound patty (125 grams) and with slight differences in the sauce and the onions.

As in Arab and Muslim countries, McDonald's restaurants in Israel do not serve pork products. However, they have been criticized by Jewish religious leaders for serving cheeseburgers and employing Jewish workers on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath.[17]

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