McDonald’s reopens in Russia with a new name and image

(CNN) – The Golden Arches and the Big Mac may be gone, but Russians saw 15 McDonald’s restaurants reopen under a new brand and new ownership on Sunday, according to owner Alexander Nikolayevich Govor.

Its giant American fast food brand has been changed to “Vkusno & Tochka”, which translates to “yummy and that’s it.”

The company, whose CEO is Oleg Barov, plans to open 200 branches by the end of June and all branches by the end of summer, according to a press release.

“If you remember, in May, McDonald’s announced that it was withdrawing its business from Russia. I am very proud that they chose me to further develop this business. This means that the company considers me a person who fully shares in all McDonald’s business principles and values,” the governor said at a press conference.

“I will not hide the fact that I am an ambitious man, so I will not only open 850 restaurants, but also develop new ones,” he said.

According to a press release, 62,000 former McDonald’s employees were also retained.

A McDonald’s restaurant closed after the military invasion of Ukraine on April 14, 2022 in Belaya Dasha, outside Moscow.

The re-branding coincided with Russia Day, a holiday marking the country’s independence. It happened at the same location on Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow where McDonald’s opened its first Russian restaurant on January 31, 1990.

CBC reported at the time that the first day saw 30,000 people, a record for McDonald’s for an opening day. The site had to remain open hours later than planned due to the crowds.

About 630 employees were selected from 27,000 applicants, according to a 1990 Washington Post article.

“About 32 years ago… There were a lot of people on Pushkinskaya Square, when the first McDonald’s franchise was opened here in Russia. It caused a massive frenzy. I think the madness will be just as crazy with this new chain of restaurants, with Alexey Alekseevich said, The head of the Ministry of Commerce in Moscow, during a press conference on Sunday, the new owner, a real businessman. ”

An employee cleans a self-service machine at the Russian version of a former McDonald’s restaurant before an opening ceremony in Moscow.

McDonald’s later expanded its reach within the country, and as of early March, there were about 850 locations operating in Russia.

However, the chain decided to leave the country and sell its Russian business, in line with several other Western companies in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

Reuters reported that McDonald’s accepted approximately $1.4 billion in fees after the sale to Gofor. Baroev said other franchises could operate under the new brand, but that the traditional McDonald’s brand would be leaving the country.

Russia’s antitrust service said the chain could choose to buy its Russian restaurants within 15 years, although many of the terms of the sale to Govor remain unclear, Reuters reported.

“If the opening of McDonald’s in 1990 symbolized the beginning of a new era in Soviet life, an era of greater freedoms, then the company’s current departure represented not only the closure of the company, but the closure of society as a whole,” Dara Goldstein Wilcox B. and Professor Harriet M.

The company’s new logo shared with CNN contains the “main symbols of the restaurant”: what are supposed to be two yellow fries and an orange hamburger. The green background symbolizes “the quality of products and services that customers are accustomed to,” CNN’s press office said.

An employee prepares French fries on the Russian version of an old McDonald’s.

Reuters reported that consumers gathered outside what was once a major McDonald’s store in central Moscow on Sunday.

Although “Vkusno & Tochka” does not serve some of the most popular items on the McDonald’s menu, including the Big Mac, customers can still buy a double cheeseburger for 129 rubles (about 2.30 USD), compared to about 160 rubles at McDonald’s, And a fish burger for 169 rubles, instead of the previous 190 rubles.

Alexander Merkulov, director of quality at the new company, said that despite some changes in the menu, the composition of McDonald’s burger and equipment remains the same.

The taste stayed the same,” said Sergey, a 15-year-old customer, while eating a chicken burger and fries. “Cola is different, but there is no change in the burger.”

CNN’s Daniel Weiner Brunner, Chris Liakos, and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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