Marseille - McDonald's France was forced to apologise Wednesday following the emergence of an internal note reportedly ordering staff not to hand out food to "tramps" at a restaurant on the swish Cote d'Azur.
The note was revealed on Twitter by consumer group "60 Million Consumers".
"Following an incident on July 25, it is formally forbidden to give food to tramps," says the note, which is signed by "the management".
"As a reminder, staff meals must be eaten on the premises. Staff meals are a personal benefit and should only benefit the staff member in question," the note continued.
"McDonald's is not here to feed all the hungry people in the country!" concluded the note.
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The association cited on its website a McDonald's employee who said he had given some of his food to homeless people outside the restaurant last month.
"The smile of the people to whom I gave my meal was priceless," the consumer group quoted the staff member as saying.
The fast-food chain responded in a statement: "After a serious incident with homeless people on the evening of July 25 in front of the McDonald's in Hyeres, the restaurant sent out a note to prevent these incidents and to ensure its clients' safety."
"The procedure and the wording was clumsy and the management swiftly withdrew the note. McDonald's contacted the restaurant to apologise to anyone who might have been shocked by this note and to recall that the chain is there to serve any client, without distinction," the firm added.