McDonald's Sorry for Throwing Out 'Loitering' Pensioners

Elderly Korean-Americans sit in a McDonalds in Flushing, New York. /The New York Times Elderly Korean-Americans sit in a McDonald's in Flushing, New York. /The New York Times

A McDonald's outlet in Flushing, New York on Sunday apologized to a group of elderly Korean Americans who had been thrown out because they were hogging tables.

Store owner Jack Bert met the pensioners at the office of Representative Ron Kim.

He admitted that calling the police on the group was excessive and promised it will not happen again.

The franchise branch will replace the manager responsible for the case and hire a Korean American to better serve the ethnic community there, he promised. It will allow customers to stay for up to an hour, up from the current 20 minutes, and put up a signboard in Korean to that effect.

On Jan. 2, the store complained to police that six elderly people of Korean origin had been occupying the seats since the early morning, allegedly driving away customers. When the Korean community there found out, a number of members staged protests against the store's mistreatment of the elderly and racial discrimination, and threatened to boycott the franchise for the month of February.

The ailing franchise relies on customers wolfing down their meal as quickly as possible and getting out to make room for others -- one reason outlets have traditionally been brightly lit and equipped with uncomfortable furniture.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 21, 2014 12:10 KST