Fast-food giant McDonald’s pulled out of Russia in protest against the invasion of Ukraine and sold its restaurants here – more than 800 – to Russian businessman Alexander Gower.
Today the first rebranded restaurants are reopening in Moscow.
There’s a new name: “Vkusno I Tochka”, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it”.
Golden Arches replaced by a stylized letter M, made from two french fries, and a dot (or, perhaps, a burger?)
But the new owners are hopeful that the customers won’t notice much of a difference. He held a press conference in the leading restaurant on Pushkin Square, where 32 years ago the first Moscow McDonald’s was opened.
“Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience,” said Oleg Paroyev, CEO of Vkusno i Tochka.
The outlet sported a slogan reading: “The name changes, love stays.”
But one male protester disrupted the event, saying “bring back Big Mac!”
The new company says the structure of the burger has not changed and that McDonald’s equipment remains.
In 1990 I was in a big queue: it took me three hours to come in and serve. I remember the excitement. The arrival of McDonald’s was a symbol of Soviet Russia adopting Western ideas, Western culture, and Western food.
What is happening here today is also a symbol: of how Russia and the West are falling apart. And the crowd was very less.
Last month McDonald’s announced that it would leave Russia because of the “humanitarian crisis” and “unpredictable operating environment” caused by the war.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9% of McDonald’s global sales last year.
Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Apple are among the international brands that have left Russia or suspended sales here since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is now subject to widespread international sanctions, which are disrupting its supply chains and increasing unemployment.