Published January 15, 2014
A McDonald's in Queens, New York has become the contentious scene between some elderly patrons and management who says the group is driving away business.
According to the New York Times, many of them -- mostly Korean locals from the neighborhood -- arrive as early as 5 a.m. at the restaurant and often stay until after dark. They show up, some of whom use walkers, canes or wheelchairs, after eating a free lunch at a nearby senior center, and then split a small pack of french fries to count as paying customers.
A manager said they have called the police on the group in an effort to get them to move on, but that doesn't seem to deter them much. Nor does the sign posted at the restaurant saying customers have 20 minutes to finish their food, reports the New York Times.
"They ordered us out," says one customer, Man Hyung Lee, 77. "So I left. Then I walked around the block and came right back again."
The group say they're entitled to stay as long as they like. "Do you think you can drink a large coffee within 20 minutes?" David Choi, 77, says. "No, it’s impossible."
Although the elderly folks have been meeting at the McDonald's for years, the tension between the customers and the fast food restaurant has mounted over the past few months. The Times reports that police have received four 911 calls since November.
One of the group Hoick Choi, 76, even told the Times that he doesn't really like the food.
Oddly enough, right down the street is another McDonald’s and Burger King, but neither draw any crowds.
In a statement Jack Bert, McDonald's franchisee spokesman said: "I'm sure you can imagine any business would find this situation to be difficult when customers prevent other customers from enjoying the restaurant. We continue to work to resolve this situation and create an environment so customers who wish to enjoy this restaurant have the ability to do so."