Swedish strip club continues McDonald’s-inspired expansion

Swedish strip club continues McDonald's-inspired expansion
You want fries with that? (Pic shows McDragan's old logo)
Having settled a logo dispute with McDonald’s, an enterprising Swedish strip club owner is courting new controversy as he attempts to build an empire echoing that of the fast food giant.

“There are many, many people in Sweden who want to be able to see a striptease,” strip club owner Dragan Bratic told The Local.

When Bratic recently opened his “McDragan’s Drive In!” strip club near Falköping in southern Sweden, McDonald’s threatened legal action over the bar’s logo, which featured two breasts placed together in the shape of an ‘M’.

A McDonald’s spokesperson told The Local that Bratic eventually agreed to change the sign, thus ending the trademark dispute.

Meanwhile, the strip club owner has been drawing inspiration from the hamburger chain when it comes to his own expansion plans.

“My strip clubs are going to be as common as McDonald’s,” Bratic told the Barometern newspaper ahead of the June opening of a new club in Skogsby on the island of Öland off Sweden’s southeastern coast.

“There’s going to be a McDragan’s in every city.”

Local officials and many residents, however, are less than thrilled that Bratic has chosen their community for his new club, Café Absolut Nöje (‘The Total Pleasure Café’), Bratic’s fourth overall in Sweden.

“This is a terrible low point and proof of moral poverty in our municipality,” Staffan Larsson, head of Mörbylånga municipality, told the newspaper.

“When you consider that it’s so close to the Torslunda school, it downright hideous.”

The club’s opening has also prompted sporadic demonstrations outside the club by local residents.

“It’s a shame that strip club has been started in this kind of little building, so close to a school and a daycare centre,” said one of the demonstrators when the club opened on June 17th.

Opponents of the club were given hope that the club would be shuttered when it was revealed that Bratic has failed to seek a permit from local police for carrying out public performances.

While the oversight resulted in the filing of a complaint for disturbing public order, police admitted the matter was not a high priority and that there wasn’t much they could do to force the club to close its doors.

“It’s a bit strange, but we can’t take action for example or deny the club’s request before they apply for a permit,” said police spokesperson Ulf Karlsson to Barometern.

Bratic told The Local that he neglected to request a permit from police because he had not been required to do so when opening other clubs in Sweden.

But the police explained that they viewed the matter differently in Kalmar County, and in early July they finally received an application from Bratic.

“Now we can make an assessment and see what sort of public exhibition this is,” said Karlsson.

“We’re going to go to Skogsby and check the place out.”

Specifically, police will attempt to determine whether or not the striptease crosses the line into a pornographic performance.

“The differences between them are sometimes small and hard to discern. But there are limits for what a striptease can have,” said Karlsson, adding that if the performances include sex toys or physical contact they could be considered pornographic.

If the club is found to feature pornographic shows, not only would the permit request be denied, but the owner could face fines or up to six months in prison for violating Sweden’s laws against arranging public displays of pornography.

But Bratic isn’t concerned, saying he would welcome the police to visit his establishment at any time.

“I’m not the least bit worried,” he told The Local.

“The rules are very clear and there’s nothing I’m going that can make them close me down. The club is open, doing well, and will be around for years to come.”

Bratic is currently working on expanding his “McDragan” strip club concept abroad and is also exploring the possibility of utilizing franchises.

“Right now we’re looking at Vancouver. I’m working day and night so that we’re ready for the 2010 Winter Olympics,” he said.

Bratic also thinks the disgruntled residents of Skogsby will eventually grow to accept him.

“They don’t bother me. They have a right to not like what I do,” he said.

“But I’m sure that, with time, they will get used to us.”

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