McDonald’s said it’s reviewing the complaint filed Thursday and that it has an “obvious interest in franchisees maintaining successful and profitable restaurants.” The company has denied the allegations in the
Addressing the two brothers who filed Thursday’s complaint, McDonald’s USA said in a statement that the company has “invested significantly in each of their respective businesses after they ran into business difficulties caused by mismanagement of their organizations.”
One thrust of the complaints is that Black owners are steered toward owning restaurants in Black neighborhoods, which brings higher overhead costs for security, insurance and employee turnover. James Ferraro, a lawyer for the franchisees, said McDonald’s is trying to improve its image with owners and has offered rent reductions and other perks to current Black owners since the Sept. 1 lawsuit filed by 52 former franchisees.
Like the plaintiffs in that case, brothers James Byrd and Darrell Byrd in Thursday’s case are seeking as much as $5 million per store they operate to compensate for their losses. Ferraro said there are currently 186 Black franchisees across the U.S. and that they will be able to join the case or opt out of it according to ground rules set by the court. Ferraro had no immediate comment on the company’s allegation that the Byrd brothers mismanaged their businesses.
McDonald’s said in July that it would step up efforts to fight systemic racism by addressing any hiring biases, increasing the diversity of its leadership and doing more to attract diverse franchisees.
(Updates with no immediate comment by plaintiffs’ lawyer in sixth paragraph)
Kevin Miller, Peter Blumberg
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