McDonald’s announced its final withdrawal from Russia due to the war with Ukraine

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After 30 years in Russia, McDonald’s, the largest fast food restaurant chain in the world, announced that it has made the final decision to leave the country. The company’s business in Russia will be sold.

McDonald’s opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow on January 31, 1990, as the Soviet Union began to welcome Western brands into its economy. The opening of this restaurant in Tverskaya was a kind of symbolic event and its closing – as well as the departure of the company from Russia – is also a symbol of the times to come.

“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the growing unpredictability of working conditions have led McDonald’s to conclude that continuing to own a business in Russia is no longer appropriate and does not live up to McDonald’s values,” the company said in a statement. type. .

The decision to temporarily close all 850 restaurants in Russia and suspend operations in the Russian market was taken by the fast food chain McDonald’s in early March.

“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe have caused unbearable suffering to innocent people. We are participating in the condemnation of aggression and violence around the world and we are praying for peace,” said Chris Kempinski, the company’s head at the time.

Now the company has started the process of selling its Russian business. McDonald’s is expected to sell its entire restaurant portfolio to a local buyer, the company said in a statement.

A total of 62,000 people work in the company’s Russian representative offices and another 100,000 in supplier companies. McDonald’s Russia has hundreds of local suppliers and partners.

Restaurants sold to a Russian buyer will no longer be able to use the McDonald’s brand and menu.

Gloves instead of burgers?

McDonald’s Corporation is negotiating with several Russian companies, TASS quoted a source at McDonald’s as saying.

“There is a pool of Russian candidates, negotiations are underway with everyone. That was one of the demands of the Russian authorities – a Russian businessman to be the new owner,” said the agency’s interlocutor.

Photographer, Getty Images

photo caption,

McDonald’s announced the temporary closure of its restaurants in March

“The first restaurants with the new brand will open in June,” he says. It is planned to save jobs, most suppliers, a chain of restaurants and menus.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

In March, Anna Zhukova, president of the National Culinary Association of Russia, said members of the association were ready to develop flowcharts based on traditional Russian recipes for use in food chains that could replace McDonald’s restaurants.

“For the guests of the Russian chain of fast food restaurants, instead of the western fast food which is harmful and boring for many, we could offer our favorite traditional pastries and pancakes (…). “Instead of Coca-Cola – prepare vegetable lemonades, of course,” Zukova said at the time.

Theo Leggett, BBC Business correspondent:

When McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in Moscow in 1990, it was deeply symbolic: a purely American cultural phenomenon is taking root near Red Square, in the heart of the ruined USSR.

Video caption,

“Taste of capitalism”: how the first McDonald’s opened in the USSR 30 years ago

And now the Big Mac and all the other Macs are gone. Another global brand is leaving a country that the invasion of Ukraine has turned into an international outcast.

However, skeptics may point out that the company came to this decision only after facing strong criticism on social media for its inability to speak clearly and unequivocally against the war in Ukraine.

Renault was also initially reluctant to talk about a possible withdrawal from serious investment in Russia – until Ukrainian President Zelensky mentioned it in his speech to the French parliament on such a position.

Well, now both of these companies have given up on the inevitable.

And those enjoyable times of the early 1990s, when Russia seemed to be forever open to the world, now look like ancient history.

The “Big Mac” can be replaced, imported spare parts are more difficult

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large foreign companies and hundreds of international brands have reportedly ceased operations in Russia.

Many of them were sharply criticized for their reluctance to make such a decision – including McDonald’s (some even called for a boycott of the company because it did not leave Russia).

Starbucks, Levi’s and Apple have left Russia, while some companies such as Burger King and Marks and Spencer have stated that they can not close their stores or cafes due to difficult franchise agreements.

After the departure of the giant Renault car, AvtoVAZ found itself in a difficult position. The Russian company, experts believe, will lose those models created on the basis of Renault cars and in which there were many imported parts.

Thus, two Niva models, as well as the Granta and Vesta, will remain in the AvtoVAZ carriers. But even these models, as a result, will have to be assembled in a simplified configuration: replacements can be found for imported components, but some of the functions may be lost.

The fact that it is leaving the Russian market and stopping serving its Russian projects was also announced by Siemens. Among such projects are the iconic Sapsan trains running between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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