In March, McDonald’s halted operations at its company-run restaurants in Russia. While some of the franchisees remained open, the multi-national fast-food chain’s move was one of the most visible responses by foreign companies to Russia’s sending troops to Ukraine.
Two months later, McDonald’s decided to leave Russia altogether and sold its 850 restaurants to Alexander Govor, who had licenses for 25 franchises in Siberia.
Govor moves quickly to reopen the closed outlets. Only a few hours before the opening of the Pushkin Square restaurant, the new name of the Russian chain was announced: Vkusno-i Tochka (Tasty Period).
The logo is different, but still evokes the golden arcs: a circle and two yellow rectangles – representing a beef patty and french fries – configured in a stylized M.
Fifteen of the former McDonald’s were set to reopen in Moscow yesterday. Oleg Paroev, the chain’s general manager, said he wants 200 open by the end of the month.
As part of the sale agreement, the monetary terms of which were not announced, the new company agreed to keep all 62,000 people employed before McDonald’s exit.
The crowd at the Pushkin Square outlet, however large and lively, was no match for the turnout for the opening of McDonald’s in 1990, as people queued for hours. At the time, McDonald’s had psychological and political resonance beyond hamburgers.
The opening was most Muscovites’ first introduction to Western consumerism and service efficiency, as well as a sign that the Soviet Union was slowly dropping its guard and letting foreign culture enter the country.
That earlier symbolism echoed with a touch of nostalgia through the reopening on Sunday.
“This is a historic place – McDonald’s flagship,” Govor told reporters.
“I’m sure this will be the flagship for us.”
Inside, the restaurant resembled fraternal twins of its former self. There were touchscreens for placing orders and front desk clerks wearing familiar polo shirt uniforms.
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“We are sure that our customers will not notice any difference between us,” said Paroev. However, he said the company will be looking for a new soft drink supplier because it has limited supplies of Coca-Cola.