June 28, 2022

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McDonald’s Russian alternative opens first stores

The restaurants will operate under a new name and logo, but with the same staff and almost identical cuisine as the American fast food chain, which left the country after 32 years due to the war in Ukraine.

The first restaurants in the chain to replace McDonald’s in Russia opened this Sunday (12/06) in Moscow under the slogan “Name changes, love exists”.

15 restaurants will operate under a new name and logo, but in the same locations, the same staff and dishes will be similar to the American fast food chain. This Monday, another 50 restaurants of the new chain are scheduled to open.

The new network is called “Vkousno i totchka”, which means “tasty and complete stop” in Portuguese. The network’s new logo features a red circle and two oblique orange stripes, representing a hamburger and two fries.

“We try to do everything possible so that our customers do not notice any differences in both the environment and the taste and quality,” assured Oleg Faroev, director general of the Russian fast food chain.

“It’s definitely not going to be bad. We’ll try to improve,” said the new owner, Russian businessman Alexandre Gower. “We hope that the number of customers will not decrease, but rather increase, especially since it is now a 100% Russian company,” he stressed.

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, McDonald’s sold its restaurants in Goa last month. The US panel had already decided to temporarily close its 847 restaurants in Russia due to the invasion, and then announced that it would end its operations in the country 32 years later.

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Almost the same menu
In the new menu, almost the same type, but with new names. For example, “Royal Deluxe” is now called “Grand Deluxe”, “File-O-Fish” Burger is called “Fish Burger”, and “Double Royal” is called “Double Grand”. Also, the prefix “McDo” no longer appears under any name. Also, the fact that McDonald’s in Russia has its products sourced from local growers should ensure that the sandwiches continue to be delicious.

“I was forced to remove some products from the menu because they refer directly to McDonald’s like McFlurry and Big Mac,” Oleg Paroïev explained.

He said prices had “slightly increased” due to inflation, which had hit Russia hard since the imposition of new Western sanctions following the invasion.

Sergei, 15, tested the new offer on Sunday in central Moscow from a branch that was once McDonald’s flagship store.

“The taste is the same. The soda is different, but the hamburger hasn’t really changed,” he said as he ate a chicken burger and price.

Elena, the programmer and mother of two, gathered the whole family for lunch at one of the new “Russian McDonald’s” restaurants, where, since Sunday morning, before the official opening, dozens of people waited in Pushkin Square.

New owner
Alexandre Gower, who has already run the US Group’s 25 restaurants in Siberia since 2015, bought McDonald’s operations in May.

The co-founder of oil refining company Neftekhimservice, the businessman, agreed to keep about 62,000 employees for at least two years under conditions similar to those before them.

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The 62-year-old businessman from southern Siberia says he has “very ambitious plans”.

“We want to reach a thousand stores in five or six years,” the businessman said.

Being from Soviet times
McDonald’s began operations in Moscow in January 1990, was still in Soviet times, and the opening of the first store in the country’s capital was seen as one of the signs of the opening of the former Communist Empire.

The first McDonald’s, in Pushkin Square in central Moscow, opened two years before the fall of the Soviet Union and received more than 30,000 customers on its opening day – a world record for the American brand.

The huge line in front of the store is famous and the restaurant, the most visited chain in the world: in 30 years, it has gained more than 140 million customers, which is equivalent to almost the entire Russian population.

Russia, which manages 80% of restaurants directly using McDonald’s name, accounts for 9% of the company’s revenue and 3% of its operating profits.

At the beginning of the Vladimir Putin regime’s war of aggression against Ukraine, McDonald’s already closed more than 800 of its stores in Russia in March. This is not the first time the network has made such a decision. In 2014, the company closed all stores in the Crimean region of Ukraine, following the illegal annexation of the peninsula by Russia.

The Russian network RusBurger captured the former US network points in the Crimea. With the motto of “Taste of Russia”, the chain began to offer products such as “X-Burger of the Jar” and “Chicken Jar” instead of the traditional Big Max and Mexicans.

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This content was originally published by the German agency DW. The opinion expressed by the publication does not reflect or represent the opinion of Weather Or its collaborators.

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