McRefugees: Poor People in Asia Seeking Shelter in McDonald’s

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Written By Henry Dalziel

I've been living and working in Hong Kong since 2016 as an SEO Professional.

In Hong Kong, Japan, and China, McRefugees are poor people who use McDonald’s 24-hour restaurants as a temporary shelter. They frequently sleep on the floors and benches of restaurants, and sometimes even in the restrooms. The name McRefugee was originally used in Japan in 2001, during a period of economic crisis. The number of people using McDonald’s restaurants as shelters grew, and the word has subsequently become popular in Hong Kong and China.McDonald’s has historically been a favourite location for underprivileged and homeless persons in the United States. The corporation has always been open to individuals sleeping or eating in its restaurants, and has even offered certain basic services, such as showers and washing facilities, in some locations. However, as economic conditions have deteriorated, the number of people using McDonald’s restaurants as shelters has increased in other countries as well.The number of people sleeping in McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong, for example, went from a few dozen in 2008 to over a thousand in 2012. The surge was caused in part by the fact that rents had become unaffordable for many individuals, and in part by the fact that the city’s homeless shelters were frequently overcrowded. In Japan, the number of people using McDonald’s restaurants as shelters grew from a few hundred in 2010 to over 2,000 in 2012. In recent years, the number of people using McDonald’s restaurants as shelters in China has also increased.Because of the increased number of McRefugees in other nations, McDonald’s has made several changes to how its 24-hour locations function. For example, in Hong Kong, the corporation has begun to close several of its restaurants overnight in order to dissuade individuals from using them as shelters. In Japan, the company has begun to give sleeping bags and mats to customers who wish to use its restaurants as a shelter.Despite these adjustments, McDonald’s remains a favourite destination for the impoverished and homeless in many parts of the world. The company’s 24-hour restaurants offer a safe and hygienic place to sleep, and its costs are frequently lower than those of other eateries. Furthermore, the company’s policy of welcoming all clients, regardless of financial standing, makes it a more open and accepting environment than many other firms.
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