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Not a Punchline: McDonald’s Branches in Austria Are Now Outposts for the U.S. Embassy

Plus, Domino’s has a disgusting new creation, and more news to start your day


Get a Big Mac and a new passport all in one

McDonald’s restaurants in Austria will now serve as teeny-tiny United States embassies of sorts. Americans in Austria can approach staff at one of the nearly 200 McDonald’s and they’ll help them get in touch with the U.S. embassy. This bizarre partnership between the government and the burger giant raises a number of questions (why Austria? Why McDonald’s?), but suffice to say, it’s a bizarre downloading of a public service to a multinational corporation whose main specialty is applying heat to thin discs of ground meat.

But as a fun thought exercise, here’s a possible scenario where this could come in useful: You’re out and about one evening in Vienna, trying to enjoy a Wiener schnitzel the size of your face, and suddenly, you realize that either you’ve lost your passport, or accidentally committed a crime or two. Obviously, your best option is to stumble into the closest McDonald’s, where you’ll be put in touch with the U.S. Embassy for consular assistance. Bonus — it seems that the charitable folks at McDonald’s won’t even force you you buy anything before assisting you (but you will need to make a purchase before using the bathroom).

And in other news...

  • Grab some antacids and be prepared for a fleeting taste of vomit in your mouth: Domino’s New Zealand has unveiled a Hawaiian pizza that’s also topped with canned spaghetti. [KITV]
  • The CEO of beef and dairy beverage chain Steak ‘n Shake thinks he can save the company $1 million per year by pretty please leaving cherries off the top of milkshakes. [Vice]
  • If you like your accommodations just like your tacos — cheap, and challenging to your intestinal integrity — then you’ll want to stay at the Palm Springs hotel that Taco Bell is taking over later this summer. [CNBC]
  • Chef Ayesha Curry would like to remind you she is indeed a self-made woman, and that her husband has not invested a cent in her restaurants. [People]
  • Bob Hawke, the former Australian Prime Minister known for setting a world record at beer chugging, has died at the age of 89. [BBC]
  • The next big “plant-based” innovation could be fake eggs, as a number of companies are rushing to nail the perfect egg substitute recipe. [Bloomberg]
  • A friendly reminder that noted racist Papa John still owns almost one-third of Papa John’s Pizza, even if he did just sell $6 million’s worth of his shares. [NRN]
  • A North Carolina brewery had its van stolen, and got it back within 45 minutes by offering a free keg party to the culprits. [The Takeout]
  • The next chain to jump upon the artificial meat wagon is cheap coffee purveyor Tim Hortons: the Canadian company will serve breakfast sandwiches with Beyond Meat “sausage” patties. [Blog TO]
  • For around $90, you can get an online masterclass in how to smoke brisket from Austin barbecue wiz Aaron Franklin. [Texas Monthly]
  • Target is selling a hybrid cooler-fanny pack that is probably most useful as a beer or canned wine tote. [PopSugar]

All AM Intel coverage [E]