Saudis Contemplate Golden Arches Over Kaaba

Posted on November 15, 2010


EP: Mecca -After building the world’s largest clock tower over looking the city of Mecca, the holy sanctuary of over 1.4 billion Muslim worldwide, Saudi officials are contemplating establishing the  world’s largest set of “McDonalds Golden Arches .” The arches would span from the east side of the city over the Kaaba and be completed on the west side. The project is expected to cost over $1.2 billion and if it receives the go-ahead, could be completed in time for the 2015 Hajj season. Nasir Abdullah, the deputy secretary of new construction projects in the Mecca region, is excited about the prospects. “We have a long-standing relationship with McDonalds and think this is a perfect way to not only strengthen that bond but also create an enormous monument to our global collective heritage. When people come to Mecca I want them to think prayer first and cheeseburger second -but not a too distant second!” he exclaimed with a wink and a nod. Abdullah, the nephew of King Abdullah, owns the nation-wide license for McDonalds franchises in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials are contemplating building the largest set of McDonalds golden arches in the world in Mecca. A government spokesman said extra care would be taken to make sure the new structure was "tastefully" designed to fit in with the historical significance of the area.

The base of the two arches would house the two largest McDonalds complexes in the world featuring a global menu and over 20,000 square feet of playground and eating space for visitors. Given the location of the two restaurants, Meccan visitors and residents will likely be no more than 800 yards from a McDonalds at any time during the visit to the city including while inside the Mosque. James Johnson, a Senior Vice President for Marketing with McDonalds and recent “convert” to Islam arrived last week just before the Hajj to work with Saudi authorities on planning and sponsorships. “Quite frankly I could not think of a better way of bringing our two countries together. We are right now developing a ‘Kaaba’ happy meal where kids can get a burger, fries and soft drink plus a miniature replica of the Kaaba for only $2.99 + tax” said Johnson to a group of reporters outside the proposed site “and of course you can super-size the meal for only another $.50.”

Abdullah is currently working with religious officials to determine the potential for product placements both during religious services and also advertising in the prayer areas. “We would like to sponsor a McDonalds prayer section where all the prayer rugs would include Ronald McDonald characters. We are also working on possible changes to the call to prayer that would announce specials or prize giveaways. It would all be done very tastefully, and so far the religious authorities have been very receptive.”

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