McDonald’s forced a 14-year-old to eat outside in London’s ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap because she had her school uniform on

London buses drive through the snow in Westminster. Alex Burstow/Getty Images
  • The UK is in the grip of a dramatic cold snap this week.
  • Despite this, McDonald’s told a 14-year-old girl she had to eat her food outside.
  • They were enforcing a policy which bans children in school uniform from eating inside their restaurants.
  • McDonald’s has said that the weather doesn’t make a difference.

A 14-year-old student in London was forced to leave a McDonald’s and eat in the freezing cold because she was wearing her school uniform.

Lucy Haffenden and an unnamed friend were asked by staff at a McDonald’s branch in Erith, south London, to eat their cheeseburgers outside around 5 p.m. on Monday, The Sun reported.

Temperatures in London hovered between 0 and -4 degrees Celsius (32 to 25 Fahrenheit) that day.

McDonald’s acknowledged the incident, and said its Erith branch had enforced a blanket ban on having more than two children in school uniform present in the restaurant at the same time.

According to Haffenden’s father, Mark, the two students were given a takeaway bag and asked to leave despite saying that they wanted to eat in-store.

He told The Sun: “They sat down and then someone comes over and tells them to leave – it’s embarrassing, and really no way to treat customers.”

It’s not entirely clear how many students were in the store at that time. McDonald’s is yet to respond Business Insider’s request for clarification.

Britain and many parts of Europe are experiencing heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures as it grapples with the “Beast from the East,” a cold blast caused by unseasonably warm weather in the Arctic.

Mcdonalds erith
McDonald’s in Erith, south London, where the incident took place. Google Maps

According to McDonald’s, the policy is to protect the branch’s staff and customers from “anti-social behaviour from large groups of school children.”

A spokesman told Business Insider in a statement:

“Due to anti-social behaviour from large groups of school children the Erith restaurant has a policy of allowing only two school children in the restaurant at any time.

“Customers are advised of this when purchasing, and food is provided in takeaway packaging. Whilst there is no indication that the girls mentioned were committing acts of anti-social behaviour the safety of our crew and customers is of the utmost importance to us and the policy is therefore enforced at all times.”

Mark Haffenden, the student’s father, told The Sun that the company should have made an exception and that he would be asking for a refund on his daughter’s meal.

He said: “We all know what the weather has been like, I can’t believe they’re allowed to make them get out.

“Even if there is a policy, surely they could have just said for today they can eat in – then I would have been thanking them, rather than having to get a refund.”

Parts of southern England and Wales will continue to be hit by heavy snow and strong winds as Storm Emma pushes up from southern Europe, the UK Met Office has warned.

At least three people in the UK have died as a result of icy conditions, the BBC reported.