McDonald’s filed a suit against Florence Mayor after new branch opening in the historic Piazza del Diomo was rejected.
The Mayor cited the preservation of Florence’s cultural character as a reason for the application being denied. Mayor Dario Nardella’s decision was upheld by the technical panel that oversees the preservation of Florence’s character.
McDonalds has reportedly filed a claim with the administrative court on the applications rejection and is seeking $19.65 million in damages.
The fast-food giant has over 35,000 branches in 118 countries and territories around the world, serving over 68 million customers everyday including three branches in the same city where the application was rejected.
There are currently a total of 6,056 company-owned locations and 30,559 franchised locations, which includes 21,456 locations franchised to conventional franchisees, 5,742 locations licensed to developmental licensees, and 3,361 locations licensed to foreign affiliates.
However the application to open the proposed new branch in the heart of the iconic Italian town of Florence was deemed unacceptable by the city council.
“McDonald’s has the right to submit an application, because this is permitted under the law, but we also have the right to say no,” Mr Nardella told the city council, adding that he was keen to support “traditional business” in the area.
The Mayor made stated: “We don’t have any prejudice” against McDonald’s, and supported his claim by noting that there were already McDonald’s branches “in other parts of [Florence] town.”
The company said, in a statement: “We completely agree that the cultural and artistic heritage and the Italian historical town centres have to be protected and guaranteed, as well as the traditions and the historical small shops, but we cannot accept discriminatory regulations that damage the freedom of private initiative without being advantageous to anyone.