Sun. Dec 10th, 2023
    New McDonald’s Closure Highlights Challenges for Downtown Businesses

    In a surprising turn of events, the McDonald’s located on the top floor of Edmonton City Centre has permanently closed its doors. While the closure of this popular fast-food chain may seem like just another casualty in Edmonton’s downtown area, it actually sheds light on the broader challenges faced by businesses in the city center.

    One of the main factors behind the closure is the changing nature of downtown Edmonton. A growing number of well-known chains, including Starbucks, The Bay, and Sport Chek, have recently left the area. Some attribute this trend to concerns about crime and disorder in the core. To address these concerns, City Centre management has invested significant amounts of money in security measures.

    However, the fate of the McDonald’s closure is likely more complex. Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, believes that the closure was driven by aggressive profit-seeking from multinational corporations. McDonald’s, as a 24-hour business, typically prioritizes high volume and large order sizes. Unfortunately, the City Centre location did not offer round-the-clock hours or a drive-thru, which are key components of McDonald’s strategy.

    Furthermore, the location of the restaurant on the top floor, accessible only by two escalators, limited its customer base to office workers in the connected pedways. With the ongoing shift in work habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of businesses reliant on this customer base remains uncertain. While downtown Edmonton has seen a recovery of about 80% of its pre-pandemic activity level, office worker occupancy is still at around 50-60%.

    The closure of the McDonald’s serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by businesses in downtown areas. As work habits continue to evolve and consumers prioritize convenience, businesses must adapt their strategies to remain competitive and meet the changing demands of their customers.


    Q: Why did the McDonald’s in Edmonton City Centre close?

    A: The closure is believed to be driven by a combination of factors, including the aggressive pursuit of profit by multinational corporations and the location’s lack of round-the-clock hours and a drive-thru.

    Q: Does the closure indicate broader challenges for businesses in downtown Edmonton?

    A: Yes, the closure of prominent chains, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, The Bay, and Sport Chek, highlight the challenges faced by businesses in downtown Edmonton, including concerns about crime and disorder and changing work habits.

    Q: What is the current state of downtown Edmonton’s recovery?

    A: Downtown Edmonton has seen a recovery of about 80% of its pre-pandemic activity levels, but office worker occupancy remains at around 50-60%. This indicates that businesses reliant on office worker customers still face uncertainties.