Saturday, March 2, 2024

Opinion: How the onetime ‘World’s Worst McDonald’s’ can use its previous

Capitalizing on the property’s infamous previous may very well be good for the brand new tenant’s enterprise future.

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Final yr noticed the tip of an period for one among Ottawa’s most well-known, albeit controversial, native landmarks: 99 Rideau St.

As a result of closure of the notorious Rideau McDonald’s, the retail-restaurant house there has remained empty for the previous seven months. Now, a brand new tenant has signed a lease. 99 Rideau will quickly be the positioning of a model new Asian delicacies restaurant.

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Will the positioning have a clear, new begin? Or will it endlessly be haunted by the reminiscence of the McDonald’s that got here earlier than?

For individuals who haven’t heard the story, let me enlighten you. Since 1985, 99 Rideau has been the positioning of what many dubbed the “World’s Worst McDonald’s.” In 2019, the restaurant was pressured to scale back its hours of operation as a result of “quite a few complaints.” On the peak of those actions, police acquired near 900 calls a yr with regard to 99 Rideau.

However the restaurant’s important declare to “stardom” was a 2014 viral video through which, throughout a brawl, a person in a trenchcoat pulled out a child raccoon. From that time on, the title of “World’s Worst McDonald’s” simply caught.

Abruptly, 99 Rideau grew to become an odd supply of delight in a metropolis in any other case often known as being fairly boring.

And so started the weird standing of 99 Rideau.

The Rideau McDonald’s was not solely a dialog starter for interpersonal communication however for journalistic dialog as effectively.

Ever googled what the world’s worst McDonald’s is? You’ll discover pages upon pages of headlines from greater than 25 main publications citing Rideau’s very personal because the worst. Find it irresistible or hate it, there’s one factor we should admit; there was worldwide curiosity a few McDonald’s hailed because the world’s worst.

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I’ve been knowledgeable fundraiser for greater than two years. I get pleasure from elevating cash for native causes; it’s enjoyable and rewarding. Once I heard in regards to the closure, I smelled a possibility. Which is why final yr, I sat my pals down at a bar and proceeded to plan the Rideau McDonald’s Farewell March.

My hope was that we might make the most of 99 Rideau’s unprecedented publicity to do some good for the group. The march acted as a fundraiser for Operation Come House, Voice Discovered, and as a meals drive for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Remarkably, it was fairly simple to “hijack” 99 Rideau’s publicity for our personal targets. We made an instagram account and put posters up all through the downtown — and hastily I used to be doing radio exhibits.

Though the march befell on one of many coldest days of the yr, we nonetheless had roughly 200 marchers. I held a makeshift press convention with roughly 15 journalists from numerous publications whereas I dressed as Ronald McDonald.

Ceaselessly I’d be requested for my hopes relating to the way forward for 99 Rideau and I nonetheless stand by my reply: something however empty. The cherry on prime? A small enterprise will now occupy the house, fairly than a multinational conglomerate.

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I believe my expertise of capitalizing on 99 Rideau’s publicity is an effective signal for 99 Rideau’s inheritor. If this new tenant is sensible, and doesn’t try to cover from the reminiscence of its predecessor — however fairly, embraces it —  99 Rideau might have a shiny future.

In spite of everything, it’s a central location within the coronary heart of downtown. Pair that with the publicity and it may very well be a match made in heaven for a brand new enterprise.

In spite of everything, any publicity is sweet publicity.

Keith de Silvia-Legault is the previous head organizer of the Rideau McDonalds Farewell March and is at present the opinions editor of The Fulcrum, uOttawas English-language scholar newspaper.

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