At a time when cash-strapped governments around the world are struggling to keep overseas embassies and consulates operating, the deal is seen as likely to inspire other similar institutions to seek similar arrangements.
A spokesman for McDonald’s Austria, Wilhelm Baldia, told The New York Times last week that he was not aware of any other country with such an arrangement.
The U.S. Embassy in Vienna declined to talk to the American Expat Financial News Journal, referring us to a State Department spokesperson in Washington, who said only that “as part of our commitment to assisting U.S. citizens in need overseas, from time to time we work with private-sector and other non-government entities.”
Under the arrangement, Americans who have been travelling in Austria and who, for example, lose their passport or their mobile phone will now be able to enter any of the 194 McDonald’s restaurants in Austria, and receive an emergency, round-the-clock U.S. Embassy telephone number. If they need a phone to make the call, McDonald’s will provide them with the use of one.