So imagine this now: McDonald’s is suing Florence for €18 million after it was blocked from opening a restaurant on one of the Italian city’s most historic piazzas, Piazza del Duomo!
The bid was stopped in June, then upheld by a technical panel in charge of preserving the city’s ancient character. The historical center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage site, after all.
Now, the international chain is claiming it has been discriminated against, and wants to recoup the €17.8m ($19.7m) it estimates it will lose over the next 18 years, had it been awarded a license, according to Italian newspaper Firenze Today.
As we had shared back in June, McDonald’s had put forward a plan that would accept restrictions and variations to its usual model of business. This included using local products and suppliers, as other restaurants and businesses operating in the center are required to follow.
The city’s right to say no
The international chain, however, complains that these are “discriminatory regulations that damage the freedom of private initiative without being advantageous to anyone”, as McDonald’s told the BBC in a statement.
We would argue that if all businesses in the center have to follow these regulations, it is hardly discriminatory towards McDonald’s over any other business. City Major Dario Nardella asserts they were not prejudiced in rejecting the bid, as they had a right to submit in application. At the same time, the city also has the right to say no.
This is the second high profile spat over an Italian location this year for McDonald’s, who recently also had a bid to open a branch next to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square refused.