WTF Fun Fact 13569 – Bermuda Fast Food Law

The Foreign Restaurants Act of 1977 is a Bermuda fast food law that restricts chain restaurants in the country. So don’t expect to find a McDonald’s if you take a vacation there. However, you will find a KFC.

The Foreign Restaurants Act of 1977

In the early 1970s, the global surge of fast food chains reshaped the way people dined. Companies, eyeing every potential market, began to cast their gaze on picturesque Bermuda. As this global trend started influencing the local food scene, the Bermudian government decided to take a proactive stance.

Enter the Foreign Restaurants Act of 1977. This significant piece of legislation sought to preserve Bermuda’s unique culinary identity, local businesses, and the health of its citizens. Under this act, international fast food chains received a clear message: Bermuda was off-limits.

The reasoning behind this choice varied. On one hand, Bermuda’s local entrepreneurs needed protection against the financial might of global chains. This act ensured that they could thrive without the overpowering competition. On the other hand, there were concerns about the potential health implications of the fast food industry and the desire to maintain the island’s distinct culinary flavor for residents and tourists alike.

KFC: The Exception to the Bermuda Fast Food Law

While the Foreign Restaurants Act drew a clear boundary, one particular establishment found itself in a unique position. A KFC outlet, which had set up shop in Bermuda before the act’s introduction, continued its operations. The reason? This franchise received a ‘grandfathered’ status, meaning that due to its existence prior to the law, it was allowed to continue its operations unaffected.

Many often wonder how this single KFC managed to secure such a unique place in Bermudian culinary history. When global fast food chains began targeting Bermuda, KFC was one of the first movers. Its timely establishment on the island ensured that when the Foreign Restaurants Act came into force, the KFC was already a part of the local dining landscape.

Bermuda, with its ban on global fast food chains, carved a unique niche for itself in the world of gastronomy. Travelers to Bermuda won’t find the golden arches of McDonald’s or the regal visage of Burger King. Instead, they’ll discover a plethora of local eateries, each offering a taste of the island’s rich culinary traditions.

Local restaurants, cafes, and food stalls thrive, presenting dishes that merge British influences with flavors from the Caribbean, Portuguese cuisine, and other global tastes. From fish chowder spiced with sherry pepper sauce to the delectable Hoppin’ John, a dish made with rice, peas, and thyme, Bermuda offers a rich palette of flavors.

And what about the residents? Without the ubiquitous presence of global fast food, many Bermudians enjoy a diet deeply connected to their environment. Fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables play starring roles, reinforcing a strong bond with local produce and seafood.

Bermuda’s KFC: More than Just Fast Food

Interestingly, Bermuda’s lone KFC holds a special place in the hearts of many locals. It’s not just another fast food joint but a testament to the island’s unique approach to global trends. While it serves the same crispy chicken as any other KFC worldwide, this outlet represents Bermuda’s balanced stance between global influences and local preservation.

Moreover, for many Bermudians, this KFC offers a taste of global culture without diluting their island’s distinct identity. It’s a symbol of Bermuda’s resilience and adaptability in the face of global change.

Bermuda’s decision to restrict international fast food chains, while allowing one to remain, paints a fascinating picture of a nation’s attempt to protect its heritage while acknowledging the unstoppable force of globalization.

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Source: “From the grandfathered KFC to pink sand beaches, Bermuda is artwork” — Franchise Times


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