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Are There American Fast Food Chains in Iran?

Can you even imagine a world without McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and other big names in the fast-food industry? While we’re perfectly aware that not every country has all of these restaurants, did you know Iran does not have any genuine American food chains at all?

American fast-food chains are not allowed in Iran. But what they do have are knock-offs of the said brands. In Iran, you’ll find a Mash Donald’s, Pizza Hat, and a faux KFC.

Why Are These Fast-Food Brands Not Allowed in Iran?

Since the 1979 revolution, restaurants like McDonald’s and other American brands have been banned from Iran. Because of the anti-American sentiments of their government, it was impossible to get any American brands to the country.

But this didn’t stop fans of the American fast-food chains from starting their own homegrown versions of these brands. (Source: New York Post)

What are the Hilarious Knock-Offs Found in Iran?

While the country may not have the actual brand name franchise of these fast-food giants. Several fans of these brands came out with their own versions. Restaurants with names, logos, and themes inspired by the real thing have been popping up all over the place.

Instead of McDonald’s they have Mash Donalds, serving up a similar menu of burgers and fries. Instead of Pizza Hut, they have Pizza Hat that also serves pizza and other Italian-esque food. Instead of KFC, they have ZFC which is said to be amusingly close to the original restaurant.

The owner of Mash Donalds, who has not revealed his true identity in fear of Iranian disciplinarians and trademark lawyers has adopted the iconic golden arches and even the mascots of the burger giant.

We are trying to get as close as we can get to the McDonald’s experience. If I had called my restaurant McDonald’s, I’d get a visit from the hardliners. So my son advised me to go for Mash Donald’s. It sort of sounds the same.


The government would still come and visit Hassan and tell him that his brand is too Western. But they got used to it eventually.

McDonald’s means quality. People in Iran know this too. So they stop here when they see Ronald McDonald.


(Source: New York Post)

Did Mash Donald’s Create the Same Menu?

The food at these places is not exactly what you’d expect. The Mash Donald’s menu includes a falafel sandwich and a 1.5-foot long super sandwich. They also have their own version of the classic Big Mac. It’s called the Mash Donald’s baguette burger that has turkey, ham, meat, and cheese. (Source: New York Post)

Did Anyone Attempt to Open A Genuine American Food Chain in Iran?

There was an attempt to bring the McDonald’s franchise after the revolution of Tehran in 1994. But this ended in complete chaos. The restaurant was burned down to the ground by vigilantes within two days of its opening. There have been rumors about revisiting these plans after a nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran was raised in 2015. (Source: New York Post)

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