McDonald’s restaurants to double up as mini US embassies to help distressed tourists in Austria

Katie O'Malley

If you ever lose your passport in Austria and need urgent assistance, you might want to head to the nearest McDonald’s.

And no, it’s not so you can drown your sorrows with a Big Mac and large Coca-Cola.

The official US Embassy Vienna Facebook page recently announced the US ambassador to Austria, Trevor D. Traina, had signed an agreement with the country’s McDonald’s chief, Isabelle Kuster stating that McDonald’s branches across Austria will be granted permission to offer consular support to US citizens who are unable to dial the embassy’s phone number.

According to the post, which features a photograph of Traina and Kuster shaking hands, as of Wednesday 15 May American visitors will be able to enter a McDonald's to "report a lost or stolen passport" or simply "to seek travel assistance".

McDonald’s staff will also assist those in “distress” in making “contact with the US embassy for consular services.

Several Facebook users have made light of the collaboration between the US embassy in Austria and the fast food restaurant.

“The land of the fries and the home of Big Mac,” commented one user.

“One McPassport to go, please,” added another.

Another joked: “If we can also file our u.s tax as expat at McD, then we are talking. [sic]”

McDonald's spokesman Wilhelm Baldia said the fast food company had been chosen due to "the great fame of the brand".

Baldia said: "We were approached with the request by the US Consulate. Firstly, because of the brand's great fame among Americans, and secondly, because there are a lot of branches in Austria."

Baldia added that the McDonald's team will aid Americans in calling the 24/7 embassy hotline but will not issue new passports or perform other consular services as these will exclusively remain at embassies and consulates.

US Ambassador to Austria Traina was appointed to the role in 2018 by US President Donald Trump, who has previously professed his love for the fast food chain.

In March, Trump welcomed North Dakota State football players to the White House with a buffet of food from Chick-fil-A and McDonald's.

The move came two months after he served a similar spread that included hundreds of burgers to the Clemson Tigers after they won the College Football Playoff.

The Independent has contacted the US Embassy in Austria and McDonald's Austria for more information.