McDonald’s restaurants reopened their doors in Moscow on Sunday under new Russian ownership and a new name, “Vkusno & Tochka”, which translates as “Yummy and that’s all”.
Here’s what we know:
The famous Golden Arches have been removed and replaced with a new logo, which resembles a letter “M”, consisting of two French fries and a hamburger patty against a green background.
Chief executive Oleg Paroev said the new company hadn’t chosen the new name — a closely guarded secret — until the day before the launch.
There was speculation on social media about how best to translate the new name into English. “Nice and that’s it” was widely supported, although another suggestion was: ‘Nice. Point.’
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“Vkusno & Tochka” reopened Sunday in Pushkin Square in what was the first McDonald’s restaurant in Soviet Moscow in 1990, when it sold a staggering 30,000 burgers, but the line outside the restaurant was much smaller than it was three decades ago.
The chain retains its old McDonald’s interior, but removes any trace of its former name.
Initially, 15 rebranded restaurants in and around the capital will open their doors and another 200 by the end of June and all 850 by the end of the summer, executives said Sunday.
The new owner said up to 7 billion rubles ($126 million) will be invested this year in the company, which employs more than 50,000 people.
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McDonald’s flagship Big Mac and other burgers and desserts like McFlurry are missing, but other popular items are on a smaller menu and sold at slightly lower prices.
A double cheeseburger went for 129 rubles ($2.31) compared to about 160 under McDonald’s and a fish burger for 169 rubles, compared to about 190 previously.
Paroev said the chain would keep prices “affordable”. They would likely rise due to inflation, but no higher than its competitors, he said.
Most of the ingredients come from Russia, but some items were not immediately available due to logistical problems and because some suppliers have left Russia. For example, it has to find a new soft drink supplier after Coca Cola has ceased operations there.
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Siberian businessman Alexander Govor has taken over the franchise operation through his firm GiD LLC. He has been a McDonald’s licensee since 2015 and had helped the chain expand into remote Siberia, where he operated 25 restaurants.
McDonald’s has an option to buy back its restaurants in Russia within 15 years, Russian authorities have said.
Govor told reporters on Sunday that the price he paid was “much lower than the market price” and had been a “symbolic” figure. The American chain booked a sum of $1.4 billion for the deal. McDonald’s did not respond to a request for comment on the price.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9%, or $2 billion, of McDonald’s sales last year.
The former Russian head of McDonald’s, Paroev, runs the company. Until the acquisition, he had worked for McDonald’s for seven years, including 6-1/2 years as chief financial officer of the Russian company until November 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He was named CEO of Russia McDonald’s in February, weeks before Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24.
Govor will keep the chain’s tens of thousands of employees for at least two years, the US company said.
($1 = 55,7500 rubles)
Reporting by Reuters Compiled by Josephine Mason Editing by Pravin Char and Frances Kerry