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McDonald's CEO says Israel-Hamas war is having a "meaningful" impact on its business

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said the restaurant chain is seeing a "meaningful business impact" in the Middle East and elsewhere related to the Israel-Hamas war.

In a letter posted to LinkedIn, the executive said Thursday that "misinformation" related to the conflict has affected several of McDonald's markets across the world. Companies including McDonald's and Starbucks have faced boycott campaigns from both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups over their perceived support for one side or the other following Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"This is disheartening and ill-founded," Kempczinski said in the letter. 

Kempczinski didn't disclose how much the conflict has hurt sales. McDonald's is expected to report its earnings later this month, which could reveal more about the effect of the conflict on its operations. 

McDonald's did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch's request for comment. 

McDonald's came under fire this fall after one of its Israel-based restaurants offered discounts to Israeli military personnel, prompting some customers to boycott the burger joint. Some of the company's franchises in Pakistan and Indonesia have made donations to aid organizations in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported

More than half of McDonald's restaurants are located outside the U,S., with many of those restaurants locally operated franchises, according to the company's data

Israel winding down parts of Gaza offensive, but says war is not over 04:27

Last fall, supporters of Palestine boycotted and vandalized several Starbucks stores, decrying what they characterized as the company's support for Israel. Around the same time, the coffee chain also drew criticism from pro-Israel groups in the U.S., with the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce calling for a boycott after the Starbucks Workers United expressed support for Hamas' cause.

In a letter to employees last month, Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan expressed concern about the impact of rising tensions over the conflict.

"While I am grateful for so much, I am concerned about the state of the world we live in, " Narasimhan said. "There are conflicts in many parts. It has unleashed violence against the innocent, hate and weaponized speech and lies — all of which we condemn."

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