Will ‘MatDollah’s’ gimmick inspire home-grown brands to capitalise on boycott of McD’s, KFC, Starbucks?

A PHOTOSHOPPED picture of a McDonald’s outlet (presumably the Melbourne Airport Maccas) with its signage changed to “MatDollah’s” has sparked plenty of mirth with netizens asking if it’s fine to patronise this particular outlet.

This comes about at a time when social media has been rife with pictures of empty McDonald’s outlets due to the boycott of businesses with alleged links to Israel.

The fast-food chain has been subject to boycott due to news reports of its outlets in Israel handing out free meals to the so-called Zionist troops even though the local franchise holder in Malaysia has stated that McDonald’s franchises are autonomous and is not reflective of the chain’s global policy.


So, how does one decide on this issue?

First and foremost, there is a need to stress that while Malaysians are free to choose how they wish to exercise their spending power, the many lists floating on the internet linking a wide array of brands/businesses to Israel are not backed up by any sort of evidence.

A previous article had asked what the end goal was of the boycott of products or businesses with alleged ties to Israel. Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim had uploaded a video on her Facebook page showing how the boycott of McDonald’s was only hurting local Muslim-Malay employees and food delivery riders.

But if one considers it realistically, Malaysians have not stopped eating or stopped using food delivery services. They are just not buying from certain outlets, most notably McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks.

They have merely shifted their eating habits – rightly or wrongly – away from brands perceived to have links with Israel.

Home brew coffee

While many sympathise with the employees of the franchises who may lose their jobs due to the boycott, other businesses stand to benefit. Most notably, it is a great opportunity for home-grown brands to capitalise on current sentiment.

Brands such as MarryBrown Sdn Bhd and the Chicken Rice Shop are fully home-grown and can exploit consumer mood with the right “Buy Malaysia” promotional campaign to capitalise

This is not to suggest that these home-grown companies make tactless adverts to attract customers but find ways to emphasise their local pedigree while emphasising that their franchises – local or abroad – do not have any links with Israel.

More pertinently, it shifts much needed support towards the small trader or independent coffee shops that obviously have zero ties with any Zionist regime. Instead of shelling out for a designer cup of brew, why not support small start-ups like the enterprising barista operating a café out of his car boot?

Perhaps some have been overly dramatic in suggesting that the boycott will hurt the already weak economy and Malay-Muslim workers in the B40 segment. In fact, the reverse could be true as small SMEs and independent traders benefit from this sudden shift in consumer tastes.

Sometimes a little perspective is required to see the silver lining. And if the boycott does permanently shift consumer buying patterns, let’s hope it will have a positive impact on the economy by boosting micro enterprises, independent traders and home-grown brands. – Nov 9, 2023

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