July 5, 2022

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The former McDonald's restaurant chain in Russia returns with a local version

The former McDonald’s restaurant chain in Russia returns with a local version

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Moscow (AFP) – “The name changes, but so does love.” Under the slogan, Russia on Sunday reopened a chain of 850 US-owned McDonald’s fast food restaurants that fled the country after the Russian invasion of Ukraine before May.

Alexander Gower, the new owner of a former McDonald’s restaurant chain in Russia, announced before the reopening on Sunday that he had chosen the name “Fkosno e tochka” (tasty. Dot.). The new logo of the restaurant chain has two orange fringes, with a red circle and a green background near them.

“We will try our best to ensure that our customers do not notice any difference in terms of atmosphere, taste and quality,” said Oleg Baruev, general manager of the new group.

For his part, Russian businessman Alexander Gower, licensed to McDonald’s, bought the chain of restaurants in Russia three days after the US company left it, saying, “The situation is not bad, this is for sure. We will try. Make it better.”

“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease, but rather increase, especially since the company is now completely Russian,” he added.

McDonald’s restaurants in Russia have been very popular in the country for over 30 years, and their revenue accounts for about 9% of all sales of the US Group.

The Russians did not understand McDonald’s decision to leave Russia in March, following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, suspending the work of 62,000 employees at 850 restaurants and then officially leaving in May.

An employee of the Russian version of McDonald’s restaurant “Vkosno e Tochka” after leaving Russia after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on June 12, 2022 in Pushkin Square in Moscow. Grill Kudryavtsev A.P.

Change of food names and neutral packaging

Before opening at 12:00 (0900 GMT) on Sunday, many people lined up in front of the restaurant branch in Pushkin Square – where the first McDonald’s opened in January 1990 and the festive crowd gathered in front of it.

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“Millions of customers have the new opportunity to come to their favorite restaurant,” Barrow said.

Oleg (31), one of the first customers to receive the order on Sunday, believes it is “tasty, beautiful and not expensive” and “I would not say it is associated with nostalgia, but rather what we are used to, perhaps.”

“We thought McDonald’s closed, but then suddenly they reopened! That’s awesome,” said Anna, 45, as she finished packing the French fries.

50 to 100 restaurants a week will open in Russia, and 50 restaurants in the chain will reopen on Monday.

Only minor changes were made to the fast food menu, and all references to McDonald’s in the food names were removed.

Former McDonald's restaurant chain Alexander Kofor's new king on June 12, 2022 in front of the new logo of his restaurants in Moscow
Former McDonald’s restaurant chain Alexander Kofor’s new king on June 12, 2022 in front of the new logo of his restaurants in Moscow Grill Kudryavtsev FB

In terms of prices, they have risen “slightly” due to inflation in Russia since the imposition of new Western sanctions in February and March following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but they are “reasonable,” Barouev says.

As for the packaging, he says it is “neutral” because “no word or no writing” should remind the McDonald’s team.

‘Most ambitious projects’

The first McDonald’s restaurant in the Soviet Union opened in January 1990 in Pushkin Square in central Moscow, almost two years ago. The branch received more than 30,000 customers on its opening day. The restaurant’s front row was famous, while US team figures indicated it was the most popular McDonald’s branch in the world.

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The branch has more than 140 million customers in 30 years, which is equivalent to the population of Russia.

The U.S. company says Gofour has agreed to keep McDonald’s employees in Russia for at least two years, in addition to the financial obligations to pay suppliers, property owners and utilities under the terms of the sale.

The value of the deal has not been released, but when McDonald announced his departure from Russia, the latter said it planned to charge a one-time fee of $ 1.2 billion to $ 1.4 billion to write off the investment.

Customers are waiting in front of the restaurant "Fkosno and Tochka" This is a special Russian edition of McDonald's restaurants after leaving Russia after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on June 12, 2022 in Pushkin Square in Moscow.
Customers wait in front of the Russian version of McDonald’s restaurant “Vkosno e Tochka” after leaving Russia after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on June 12, 2022 in Pushkin Square in Moscow. Grill Kudryavtsev A.P.

Gofor operates 25 restaurants in Siberia. He is one of the founders of an oil refinery called Neftekim Service and is a member of the board that owns the Park Inn Hotel and private clinics in Siberia.

He pointed out that “we have very ambitious plans” and “we want our restaurants to reach more in a thousand, five or six years.”