McDonald’s reports a slowdown in its business, particularly in the Middle East, attributing it to ongoing tensions in the region. Sales in licensed markets, including most Middle Eastern locations, saw minimal growth compared to other sectors, impacted by the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

CEO Chris Kempczinski highlighted the pronounced impact on Middle Eastern markets, along with repercussions in Muslim-majority countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The company refrains from making optimistic projections amidst the ongoing conflict, acknowledging the human tragedy it entails.

McDonald’s faced criticism for its Israeli franchise’s distribution of free meals to Israeli forces and citizens during Hamas’s assault on southern Israel. This sparked calls for boycotts, exacerbating the company’s challenges in the region.

Despite backlash, Kempczinski reaffirmed McDonald’s commitment to inclusivity, condemning boycotts as “disheartening and ill-founded.” However, the company’s shares fell by 3.7 percent following the announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the impact of geopolitical tensions on its operations.

Alongside McDonald’s, other multinational corporations like Starbucks and Coca-Cola also face boycotts over perceived support for Israel’s actions in Gaza. Starbucks recently revised its sales forecast due to weakened spending in key markets.

The ripple effects of Middle East conflicts on global businesses underscore the complex interplay between geopolitics and corporate operations, posing challenges for multinational corporations navigating sensitive political landscapes.