Fast-food giant McDonald’s shut its outlets across Sri Lanka on 24 March 2024, following a legal directive from the Commercial High Court of Colombo.

The court’s decision comes after McDonald’s lawyers claimed to have terminated the franchise agreement with Abans in mid-March. The case is set to continue with a hearing next month.

According to a report on, the shutdown will last until 4 April 2024 and stems from allegations by the global fast-food chain that its local franchisee Abans failed to maintain international hygiene standards.

There has been no official statement either from McDonald’s or from Abans, which has operated the franchise and its 12 outlets since McDonald’s entered the Sri Lankan market in 1998.

Notices posted outside McDonald’s restaurants informed customers of the closure, leaving the future of the outlets uncertain.

McDonald’s attorney Sanath Wijewardane said: “The parent company decided to terminate the agreement with the franchisee due to standards issues. They are not in business in the country. They may decide to return with a new franchisee.”

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On behalf of the parent business, senior presidential counsel Dr Romesh de Silva stated that McDonald’s opened an investigation in response to customer complaints and observations about hygiene and security standards at Sri Lankan locations.

He told the court that the local partner did not act on numerous warnings to maintain quality standards and improve cleanliness.

McDonald’s may consider resuming operations in Sri Lanka with a new local franchise partner but the exact timetable for this restart is unknown.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced a leadership change, with CEO Chris Kempczinski set to take on the additional role of chairman of the board.

The move followed the retirement of Enrique Hernandez, who was a board member for 28 years and served as non-executive chairman since 2016.