Big Mac attacks do not exist in El Salvador. Residents of that country have Don Mac attacks. And don’t look for a McDonald’s. You will only find a Donald’s.
Former 24-year franchisee Roberto Bukele has been in a lengthy legal battle with McDonald’s that dates back to the Arch Deluxe.
In 1996, McDonald’s revoked the businessman’s franchise for the franchisee’s locations in El Salvador. Bukele refused to rebrand or close. In fact, his opening salvo following the notification involved newspaper ads featuring rubble and wreckage left by a large, club-wielding clown resembling Ronald McDonald. In response, the franchisor sent teams to his restaurant to tear up all napkins and paper cups emblazoned with the company logo.
Not content with marketing, Bukele secured a court order forbidding the company to use 56 of its trademarks, including Big Mac, Quarter-Pounder, and the namesake clown mascot.
McDonald’s lost the legal battle in 2012 and paid a $23.9 million judgment to Bukele. However, the money disappeared in the El Salvador Treasury Department. Government officials refused to answer any questions about the large sum of money gone missing.
The purveyor of Donald’s and “inventor” of the Don Mac burger claims that he was never told about the payment. He is demanding the award amount along with $21 million in interest.
Bukele seems anything but battle-weary. In fact, he has been through worse, particularly during his country’s civil war from 1979 to 1993. During that time, two of his security guards were killed by communist guerillas who also bombed, burned and robbed his restaurants. Apparently, they were resentful of the golden arches that symbolized American imperialism.
Decades after that war, Bukele’s own fight against McImperialism continues.