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Offering free Wi-Fi leads to unexpected consequences at KFC and McDonald’s

Kate Taylor
big mac mcdonalds meal

(Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
This UK town is banning customers under 18 years of age from fast-food favorites.

Some McDonald’s and KFC locations have instated a ban on teenagers after a fight broke out between teenagers in Stoke-on-Trent, reports the BBC.

Eight people were arrested following the brawl, with armed police and a helicopter intervening after reports of a fight and gunshots.

Both McDonald’s and KFC told the BBC that the ban was in response to recent issues and would not affect locations in other parts of the UK or the world.

According to locals, teens tend to congregate after school at the town’s McDonald’s and KFC, drawn by the cheap food and central location. Police report that the teenagers would buy one drink to split between them so they can use the free Wi-Fi.  

nolan conway mcdonalds

(Nolan Conway)
Young people at a McDonald's in Nampa, Idaho.

This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s free Wi-Fi has lead to some unexpected consequences.

In 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that many students relied on McDonald’s for internet access, as the chain’s 12,000 Wi-Fi-enabled locations are often more accessible than the roughly 15,000 Wi-Fi-enabled public libraries in the US. While reporting on protests surrounding police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, a number of reporters used McDonald’s as a home base and staging area due to the location’s Wi-Fi and outlets.

McDonald’s began rolling out free Wi-Fi to locations back in 2009.

The service has clearly subtly changed the company’s business in the last seven years, whether that be by helping teens study or providing them a venue for less productive behaviors.  

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