On a recent evening in Cairo, a worker cleaned tables in an empty McDonald's restaurant. Branches of other Western fast-food chains in the Egyptian capital also appeared deserted.

All have been hit by a largely spontaneous, grassroots boycott campaign over Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip since the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Western brands are feeling the impact in Egypt and Jordan, and there are signs the campaign is spreading in some other Arab countries including Kuwait and Morocco. Participation has been uneven, with only minor effects seen in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.