What We Know About The World's Worst McDonald's

When you think about McDonald's, you may envision the Golden Arches, Happy Meals, or even the Hamburglar. But not all McDonald's customers walk away feeling happy.

In one Tripadvisor review, a customer writes that at the McDonald's she visited, "Kids walked barefoot on tables" and a "mother repeatedly allowed her son to walk ON A NEARBY TABLE barefoot." Another unhappy customer writes, "As usual the drink bar was full of trash and had flies."

However, a McDonald's restaurant on Rideau Street in Ottawa, Canada may take the cake when it comes to bad customer experiences (per Mirror). While some are calling this Canadian location "the world's worst McDonald's," Ottawa's Police Chief once provided another nickname: A "beacon of chaos." It appears this McDonald's location has not shied away from setting record numbers — and not for most Big Macs sold either. In just one year, police received 800 calls from the branch, which has been open since 1985. 

However, this April may signify the end of an era. The Rideau Street McDonald's is officially closing down. What type of "chaos" has unfolded at the supposed worst McDonald's in the world, and why is the restaurant shutting down?  

A customer used a raccoon as a weapon

If you think you've seen it all in terms of viral videos, you may have missed what happened in 2013 at this Canadian McDonald's. The Rideau restaurant gained notoriety after a group of customers got into a major fight. A video of the ruckus went viral, likely because one customer pulled a raccoon out of his jacket as punches were thrown. One YouTube commenter writes, "When there's a huge fight but at least you caught a rare Poke'mon [sic]." In a different video from the Rideau Street eatery five years ago, customers are seen battling one another with "Wet Floor" caution signs. Yikes.

Some visitors dub this McDonald's the worst. One Tripadvisor reviewer questions, "Worst McDonald's on planet Earth?" and says, "It's simply vomit-inducing and dangerous. It's so dirty and smelly and you never know if you'll make it out alive." On the same thread, another user issues caution stating, "Avoid! This is not a typical McDonald's restaurant."

Several years ago, Police Chief Charles Bordeleau wrote to the President and CEO of McDonald's Canada, expressing some worries about this McDonald's branch. The letter mentions "ongoing criminal activity and social disorder," which caused the location to no longer be open for 24 hours. Instead, it began serving customers between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The police received 150 calls from the restaurant last year, a far cry from 800, which suggests the shift in hours of operation may have been beneficial (per CTVNews). 

Why is the world's worst McDonald's closing?

The owner of the building, Peter Crosthwaite says the franchise owner decided not to begin another lease in April (per CTVNews). Crosthwaite claims there are likely several reasons the owners are not renewing their lease. "They are a pretty dynamic organization, they have the right to look at different spots and maybe they felt the time was right," he says, adding, "But there's maybe things that made it seem more right than usual."

According to Crosthwaite, other challenges, like the restaurant initially being open 24 hours and some restructuring on Rideau Street, may have led to additional complications. "The city tore up Rideau Street and put the subway in. Then they re-tore it to enhance it, put curbing in," he says. Finally, he suggests that world events also likely didn't make things easy for businesses. "The freedom rallies and we had COVID; all these things are upheavals that can't make it easy for a steady, reliable operation."

Although indoor dining is now unavailable at this Canadian McDonald's, customers can get takeout between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. every day. While it will no longer be possible to see a raccoon or caution sign scuffle at this location, other McDonald's will still be available in downtown Ottawa.