McDonald's Singapore
McDonald's files $20m lawsuit against the city of Florence. Picture: A man passes a McDonald's restaurant in Singapore July 25, 2016.Reuters

On Monday, one of America's top fast-food chains stated that it was claiming about $20 million from the Italian city of Florence. Why? Because the city rejected their application to open an outlet at its famous Piazza del Duomo -- one of the most visited places in Europe.

The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, reportedly rejected McDonald's application in June. The technical panel which approved the decision wanted to preserve the city's ancient heritage site. The Guardian reports that Nardella told the city council that "McDonald's has the right to submit an application because this is permitted under the law, but we also have the right to say no."

The Mayor was looking to support only traditional businesses within the Piazza del Duomo. Nardella also added that they didn't have any 'prejudice' against McDonald's since the fast-food chain was already present across other parts of the city.

The Piazza del Duomo is one of the most visited sites in Europe attracting thousands of tourists each year. The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, the Giotto bell tower and the St John Baptistery are all located here.

But why has McDonald's filed a $20 million lawsuit? McDonald's is reportedly angry with the city as it had made changes to its business model so that it would fit in with Florence regulations. With the denial of the application, it was deemed a setback for them.

Meanwhile, Florence does not want fast-food joints overcrowding their city and in January 2016 had mandated that restaurants which were situated in the historic heart had to make use of products from the city or the Tuscany region.

There are numerous issues that fast-food chains do face across Europe when they look at opening an outlet in an historic location. Menu choice, litter control and the design of the business façade are some of the common issues that they have to deal with.

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