• On December 10, the After M will be inaugurated in Marseille, a solidarity fast-food recreated on the premises in a former McDonald's

  • The restaurant is reborn as a cooperative, with former employees and people in integration.

  • The profits generated will be used to provide food to the most needy.

Boxes of empty burgers branded “After M”, devoured in no time, pile up before his eyes.

"Frankly, I'm moved," says Tony Rodriguez.

However, burgers, this Marseillais has seen heaps of them, all these years when he worked in this McDonald's in the northern districts.

But these burgers have a special flavor.

That of revenge.

In 2019, the commercial court signed the death warrant for this McDonald's, located in the city of Saint-Barthélemy, in the 14th arrondissement of Marseille, not far from the deal points that plague the district.

The sentence is clear: judicial liquidation.

After weeks of struggle, no less than 77 employees find themselves on the floor.

In an already devastated sector, the second local employer is going out of business.

In cities emptied of everything,

It was without counting on the building madness of some of these former employees, helped by local residents and other Marseille volunteers.

For years, they had cherished a dream: that of taking over their restaurant and transforming it into a solidarity fast-food.

Or rather a "fast social food, because the social is at the heart of the project", rectifies Fathi Bouaroua, former regional director of the Abbé-Pierre Foundation and linchpin of the project.

"We started off as losers, but we like to dream, and this dream will finally come true", rejoices Kamel Guemari, former employee of McDonald's, now president of the Cooperative Society of Collective Interest (SCIC).

UFO burgers

December 10 will mark the inauguration of L'Après M, the name of the (re)birth of fast food in the form of a cooperative.

On the menu of this restaurant like no other, whose genesis has traveled around the world to slip into the cover of the

New York Times,

the traditional burgers that have long haunted these places are making a comeback… under new names.

“The McFish will be called Pescadou, laughs Fathi Bouaroua.

The BigMac will be the Beefy Mouse.

When we surveyed people in the neighborhood, they told us they wanted McDonald's.

So we decided to meet expectations by offering to sell the classic range, because this place is primarily dedicated to people from the neighborhood.

But you will have a second so-called fastronomic range, signed by starred chefs.

They were called UFO burgers, because they are closed and shaped like a flying saucer.

No more dripping burgers!

“All for an affordable price: 8.60 euros for the classic menu (burger + fries + drink), one euro more for the starred menu.

The very first ones, being tested these days before the official inauguration, come from the imagination of the three-star Marseille chef Gérald Passédat and his teams.

"The bread comes from a young resident of the neighborhood who opened his bakery in Canet (a neighboring city, editor's note), rejoices Kamel Guemari.

Halal steaks are provided by the butcher next door.

“The potatoes will be fresh and local, abounds Fathi Bouaroua.

The idea is to get people in our neighborhoods used to good food too, for not much more.


A reintegration company

Before serving the first burgers, a facelift of the kitchen of the former McDonald's was necessary.

"It was a kitchen where we only did assembly," says Sébastien Dugast, second in command to Gérald Passédat.

We had to install an oven, buy a cutting board, a mixing bowl and a whisk to make the mayonnaise…” Since Tuesday, the chef has been training the first 33 employees of this restaurant, approved as a work integration company.

“It is here that the kids in the neighborhood will be able to find their first job, that young people leaving prison will be able to find a new home, that people far from employment will be able to straighten their heads”, hopes Fathi Bouaroua.

“I was a customer of the old McDo, says Akima Aroun, future manager of the restaurant.

I'm from the area and used to eat my little burger when I was younger.

For my mother, it was a bit the limit after which I could not go.

It was our own city center.

I asked to work here because it's not just burgers.

It's much more rewarding than that, because we're helping families in precarious situations.


The restaurant aims to achieve, in the first year, a turnover of 1.85 million euros for a surplus of 100,000 euros entirely reinvested in the purchase of foodstuffs for the poorest.

Since the first confinement, every Monday, near the old parking lot formerly dedicated to drive-thru, a distribution of packed lunches has been organized, so far on the basis of donations.

Even today, 400 needy households go to the old McDonald's every week.

It remains to be seen whether the model is sustainable, because the financial balance is precarious.

"The conditions are very limited economically," concedes Fathi Bouaroua, who regrets not having received positive responses to his requests for aid and subsidies.

For the moment, the restaurant's tenant with the city of Marseille, under a commercial lease, L'Après M has at least three years ahead of it to make the dream a solid reality.


Marseille: Residents of the northern districts are mobilizing to buy a McDonald's


Marseille: A former McDonald's in the northern districts wants to relaunch in a cooperative

  • Company

  • McDonald's

  • Marseilles

  • Paca

  • Fast food

  • Northern neighborhoods