UK McDonald’s Refused to Serve Customer Who Looked Homeless

May 11, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

A McDonald’s manager in England refused to serve a customer when he assumed the man was homeless, according to local press.

Daniel Jackson, a 27-year-old landscape gardener, walked into a McDonald’s in Manchester, England, last week, dressed in his work clothes, Manchester Evening News reported.

But the store manager cited a “zero tolerance policy” against serving homeless people.

“I’d just clocked off work and I was absolutely ravenous,” Jackson told the Evening News. “It took some serious persuasion to convince them I wasn’t homeless. I admit I was wearing scruffy clothes because I’d been working outside all day. That’s no reason to assume I live on the streets.”

A staff member eventually let him order his meal. McDonald’s has since apologized and said they will investigate the incident. The company also clarified that it does not have any policy to refuse serving homeless people.

This isn’t the first time the global restaurant chain got into hot water for actions that appear discriminatory toward the homeless.

Last month, over 70,000 people signed an online petition to request a McDonald’s in Leeds, England, to remove metal spikes installed outside their store, which they viewed as an attempt to deter homeless people from sleeping outside the 24-hour store.

A company spokesperson has said the metal spikes were for deterring “anti-social behavior,” not to discriminate against the homeless.

In 2013, McDonald’s had to apologize for a branch in Tokyo, Japan, that had put up a notice refusing entry to the homeless and those with poor hygiene.

The sign stayed put for more than a year, before people’s complaints eventually led McDonald’s to take action.

And in the United States, a McDonald’s in Boulder, Colo., received customer complaints after it closed off its dining area during the morning hours, shutting out homeless who are in need of food and shelter from the winter cold.

The store owner told the Denver Post that he closed off the dining area to give the understaffed workers time in the morning to catch up before the early-morning crowd.

Similarly, in San Francisco, Calif., homeless advocacy groups protested a local McDonald’s decision to do away with its Dollar Menu, which the group said would keep out many hungry homeless from the nearby Golden Gate Park.

But the franchise owner told a local ABC Network affiliate that the decision to raise the prices of the items on the Dollar Menu was purely a financial one.

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