A total of 52 former owners, who operated more than 200 McDonald’s restaurants nationwide over the past decade, are party to the suit.
The plaintiffs in the suit say McDonald’s breached their own contracts and violated anti-discrimination laws. The complaint says the company placed them in low-income areas where revenues were lower and security and insurance costs were higher, limiting profits.
“Revenue, at McDonald’s, is based on one factor and one factor only: location,” plaintiffs attorney James Ferraro said. “It has nothing to do with the taste of a Big Mac. You don’t go to a different McDonald’s because the Big Macs are better. You go to the closest McDonald’s, period.”
McDonald’s responded by saying Black owners, including some of those in the suit, have operated and currently operate locations in all settings — urban, suburban and rural.
“These allegations fly in the face of everything we stand for as an organization and as a partner to communities and small business owners around the world,” the company said in a statement.
“Not only do we categorically deny the allegations … we are confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunity of the McDonald’s system.”
The lawsuit comes at a time when McDonald’s is involved in another legal challenge with former CEO Steve Easterbrook. The company is attempting to recover a $42 million severance package is paid out when it fired Easterbrook last fall.