Fast food pizza chain McDonald’s announced Wednesday it would stop selling fast food in the United States and move its headquarters to Orlando, Fla., a move that could put at risk jobs in the restaurant industry.
“We are not a fast food restaurant and are committed to working with our local partners to build a strong and sustainable future for our people, and our communities,” the chain said in a statement.
“This move will give us the flexibility to focus on growing our restaurants, and investing in our employees.”
In April, McDonald’s had already announced plans to expand to Orlando and to open new stores there by the end of 2018.
The chain said it will invest $6 billion in new construction over the next two years.
“It’s about the people.
We love what we do,” the restaurant chain’s CEO, John Schnatter, said at the time.
“When we do this, I don’t think we’ll ever have a time where we can do everything.”
McDonald’s has been a fast-food franchise for decades, but recently saw a downturn in the popularity of fast food and its impact on the business of its franchisees.
A new wave of fast-casual chains began sprouting up in cities around the country, and McDonald’s joined them.
The fast-fashion retailer also announced a plan to close stores across the United Kingdom, a move which is expected to result in thousands of job losses.
In June, the chain announced it would open more than 700 new restaurants in North America, but the move did not include the move to Orlando.
The Orlando store has a sign at the entrance, reading “McDonald’s, No way.”
“I know we’ll be there for a long time,” a customer at the Orlando store told the Orlando Sentinel, adding, “I want to see it go.”
McDonald has faced a number of challenges over the years.
In 2014, the company was sued by the U.S. government for $1 billion after it refused to pay wages and benefits for workers at two locations.
McDonald’s also faced lawsuits over its treatment of workers, including lawsuits against it over conditions at its Orlando plant.
The company was also accused of withholding workers’ wages and bonuses.
In November 2016, McDonalds filed a $3.6 billion lawsuit against the government for allegedly withholding paychecks, claiming that workers were not paid on time and were subjected to unsafe working conditions.
The court was forced to settle the lawsuit last year.