McDonald’s has announced plans to reopen outlets in Ukraine, which were closed after Russia’s invasion in March.
The fast food chain hoped the move would help restore a “small but significant sense of normalcy”.
The burger giant said areas deemed safe in Kyiv and western Ukraine would be reopened in a phased manner over the next several months. McDonald’s had more than 100 restaurants in Ukraine before the conflict began.
The company has since continued to pay salaries of over 10,000 employees.
“We’ve spoken extensively to our employees who have expressed a strong desire to return to work and see our restaurants in Ukraine reopen, where it is safe and responsible to do so,” senior vice president Paul Pomroy said in a message posted on the firm’s website.
“In recent months, the belief that this would support a small but important sense of normalcy has grown stronger. And Ukrainian officials have advised that businesses resuming operations will support the local economy and the Ukrainian people.”
Analysts expect the war to trigger a 35% or more economic decline in Ukraine this year, disrupting exports, devastating key infrastructure, and forcing shut thousands of businesses.
In June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at a meeting of western business leaders hosted by Yale University and urged firms to invest in the country.
He has also celebrated the reopening of dozens of embassies in Kyiv, including the UK’s, in April. McDonald’s said it worked with suppliers and contractors to ensure the restaurants were ready for reopening.
KFC, Nike and Zara are among the other western brands whose stores are reported to be open in the country. McDonald’s also suspended operations in Russia in March and sold most of its Russian restaurants to a local licensee in May.