Noman Ansari wanted to stop for a diet Coke with his wife in a Karachi McDonald's in Pakistan, but when the couple sat down side-by-side in a booth, they were allegedly asked to sit across from each other.
In a blog post for the Express Tribune, Ansari recounts details of the conversation, in which he said a McDonald's employee told them they were disrupting the franchise's "family atmosphere:"
"Sir, this is a family restaurant. Couples sitting together is against the policy of McDonald's Pakistan, as it goes against the family atmosphere of the restaurant."
“What? But we are married (not that it is any of your business)."
“I am sorry sir, but you can’t sit side by side.”
Ansari said a pair of managers later explained his behavior constituted "a negative impact on the Islamic family atmosphere of McDonald's," he wrote.
According to the Telegraph, McDonald's Pakistan assistant marketing manager, Ali Arsalan, said the company was looking into the grievance, remarking that physical contact between the husband and wife may have been the basis for a complaint.
With more than 33,500 local restaurants located in 119 countries, McDonald's serves nearly 68 million people a day, according to its website. The way the popular burger joint and similar multinational chains handle the cultural sensitivities of various countries has caused problems in the past, Business Insider notes.
In India, plans for vegetarian McDonald's restaurants at two holy sights are proving to be controversial, with a Hindu nationalist group speaking out against the plans and threatening to protest, the Telegraph reports.
Pizza Hut Pakistan revised the details of its Ramadan all-you-can-eat special in an effort to cut down on the "gluttony and waste" the chain was observing among patrons, a Pizza Hut official said, according to the Global Post.
Islam is the official religion in Pakistan, and 95 percent of its over 190 million citizens identify as Muslim, according to the CIA.
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