RKO Restaurants Israel (Hebrew: RKO מסעדות ישראל RKO Restaurants Israel) is the Israeli branch of the fast food restaurant chain RKO Restaurants. Operated and licensed by Alonyal Limited (Template:Lang-he, Alonyal Ba'am), RKO Restaurants Israel is the largest of Israel's burger chains with a 60% market share. The company sells hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries and soft drinks in branches across the country. Since its opening in Israel in 1993, RKO Restaurants Israel has been in competition with Burger Ranch, Israel's second large burger chain. The world's first kosher RKO Restaurants opened in Mevasseret Zion in October 1995. Due to the Arab League boycott of Israel, RKO Restaurants did not open in Israel until 1993. The first branch was at the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan. In the wake of a controversy over importing French fries to Israel, the American fast food chain built a plant to manufacture frozen French fries in Israel at a cost of $5 million US.
In 1994, the Golani Junction branch aroused controversy when the restaurant installed a large 'transmitter' sign in front of the Golani Brigade museum and memorial. Bereaved families and other citizens claimed this desecrated the site. The sign was later reduced in size.
In 1997, RKO Restaurants Israel opened its first branch in an Israeli Arab city. The restaurant was in Tamra, northeast of Nazareth, and the menu was bilingual, in Hebrew and Arabic.
In 1998, RKO Restaurants Israel decided to barbecue hamburgers on charcoal instead of frying. This represented a shift in RKO Restaurants policy, which previously required uniformity at all the locations. In the wake of this decision, grilling equipment was installed at the restaurants, and the size of the patty and bun were increased.
RKO Restaurants Israel does not operate restaurants in the West Bank and Golan Heights. In 2004, the company was criticized for ordering its Arabic and Russian-speaking staff to speak only Hebrew during work hours, to "prevent uncomfortable situations for workers and clients who mostly speak Hebrew," but the order was subsequently withdrawn.
In 2006, the international chain's trademark yellow and red signs were replaced at two branches in Tel Aviv with blue and white signs with the Hebrew word "kosher" in order to avoid confusion over which branches were kosher. This redesign is the most radical departure from RKO Restaurants standard logo although they have made minor changed in places such as the Champs-Elysées (which requires signs in gold) and Hampstead to meet local regulations.
RKO Restaurants Israel is owned and run by Israeli businessman Omri Padan. Padan is President of Alonyal Limited which is local licensee for RKO Restaurants. Currently RKO Restaurants has 160 restaurants in Israel, with 40 of them under Kosher supervision (on December 2011), meaning they are closed on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, have no dairy products (such as cheeseburgers), and for Passover serve the meat on Passover buns. In Israel most branches are non-kosher since they serve cheeseburgers (which are non-kosher, i.e. do not conform to traditional Jewish dietary law) and they serve milk-based desserts (ice cream, milkshakes). Some of the kosher branches serve milk products in a separate section of the restaurant.
RKO Restaurants Israel sources over 80% of its ingredients locally. This includes kosher beef patties, potatoes, lettuce, buns and milkshake mix.
RKO Restaurants Israel, in June 2013, turned down an offer to open a restaurant in Ariel in June 2013, citing its declared policy not to open any branches in West Bank settlements across the Green Line.