The fast-food giant protested that the city of Milan, which owns the Galleria, fixed a public tender with clauses that inescapably excluded the restaurant. McDonald’s also complained that it was the only business in the complex not to be given a right of first refusal on a new rental contract.
“We don’t want to fight with the city, but we were kicked out unfairly”, said Roberto Masi, chief executive of Mcdonald’s Italy.
Between noon and 4pm on Tuesday, the restaurant left over 5000 customers with a parting gift of free burgers, fries and drinks between noon and 4pm.
“We wanted to say goodbye to the Galleria with a smile”, said Mereghetti.
In a token of support, over 1,500 people left affectionate messages on a Facebook page set up by McDonald's to announce the eviction.
Prior to its closure, the restaurant offered the cheapest dining alternative to the Galleria’s host of high-end cafes and bistros, its €7.80 Big Mac meal dwarfed by the neighbouring Savini restaurant, which charges upwards of €27 for its salads.
This isn’t the first Italian legal forray for McDonald’s lawyers, in 2003, the corporation sued Edoardo Raspelli – an Italian food critic – for a reported €21 million after he lambasted its burgers as “rubber” and compared eating its fries to chewing on cardboard.