Business

Customer: Elderly Squatters Take Over Queens McDonald’s, Just Won’t Leave

'They Come Here And It's Like They Live Here; They Buy 1 Cup Of Coffee, Stay For Hours'

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The meaning of the word “fast” may have been lost on some customers at a Queens fast food restaurant.

McDonald’s has long prided itself on its ability to make customers say “I’m loving it,” especially with its new McCafe atmosphere. But at one location in Flushing, elderly customers are sticking around for hours, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Wednesday.

“They come here, and it’s like they live here sometimes,” said customer Kieran McCaffrey. “They buy one cup of coffee, and they’re literally here for hours. I never stay because there’s never a seat.”

McCaffrey and other customers have complained that groups of elderly regulars frequently check in but don’t check out.

Most of them live in nearby senior centers and come in groups.

“I don’t see it as a problem, but I don’t own this business and turnover on tables is crucial to a restaurant business,” McCaffrey said.

Part of the problem is space. The seating area is small, which has prompted many customers to complain that they don’t have anywhere to sit and eat. Some have even asked for refunds, a restaurant manager said.

“It’s like they’re having a little meeting,” Mellissa Cosme said. “Seriously, it’s all day every day.”

It’s been going on for years, but management has recently had to post a sign reminding customers of a 20-minute dining rule.

But the time limit also left some customers bristling.

“Somebody stays all day long, that’s wrong,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr. “However, 20 minutes is something wrong, too.”

The NYPD has been called to the restaurant four times since November.

“I have a gift card,” regular customer Chong Joou said. “I come in every day. This is comfortable here at McDonald’s.”

The location’s franchisee said that the situation has put him in a little bit of a pickle.

“We continue to work to resolve this situation and create an environment so customers who wish to enjoy this restaurant have the ability to do so,” he said in a statement.

Not everyone is outraged.

“I think McDonald’s should be proud of the fact that people want to sit in their store,” customer Jackie Lavalle said.

The NYPD would not say how many customers they have had to remove from the restaurant.

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