“Name changes, love remains”: the first “Russian McDonald’s” opened their doors on Sunday with this slogan, which caused a craze for the American fast food chain that left the country due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“Vkousno i totchka” (delicious. Point) is the new name of the sign, which was unveiled on Sunday in Moscow in front of hundreds of Russian and foreign journalists. The new logo represents two stylized orange fries and a red dot on a green background.
“We try our best to ensure that our customers do not notice any difference in terms of weather, taste or quality,” assured Oleg Paroev, General Manager, Chain.
“It’s not bad, it’s sure. We’ll try to make it even better,” added Alexander Gower, the new owner and businessman.
“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease, but on the contrary, we expect it to increase. Especially now that it is a purely Russian company,” he added.
Founded in Russia for over 30 years, McDonald’s was one of the first windows to open for Russians in the Western world and anchored in their daily lives and in their hearts. Well-known, Russian restaurants account for almost 9% of American Group turnover.
Its decision to suspend the work of its 850 restaurants and 62,000 employees in March, leaving the country precisely in May due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, was something the Russians could not digest well.
Plain packaging, names changed
“My whole family went to McDonald’s three times for a farewell meal,” Elena, a programmer and mother of two, told AFP on Sunday.
“Now we’re going for reunion lunch,” she laughs.
By Sunday morning, just before 9:00 a.m., dozens of people had gathered near the iconic restaurant in the Russian capital, Pushkin Square, one of the first fifteen restaurants to greet customers.
On Monday, another 50 restaurants are set to open, according to Parov, which plans to reopen 50 to 100 restaurants a week across the country later.
In the menu, the previous range: a wide range of cheese and double cheeseburgers, ice creams and desserts, but Filet-o-Fish, now known as Fishburger, has been transformed into the Royal Deluxe Grand Deluxe and prefix. McDo no longer appears by any name.
“We had to remove some products from the menu because they refer directly to McDonald’s like McFlory and Big Mac,” Oleg Paroev explained.
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices rose “slightly” due to inflation, which severely hurt Russia since the implementation of the new Western sanctions in February and March, but according to the director general of Vkousno i totchka they are “reasonable”.
When it comes to packaging, it is “neutral”: “no word, no letter” should remind the McDonald’s group, he explained.
The first McDonald’s in the USSR, Pushkin Square, opened in mid-Moscow in January 1990, just two years before the fall of the USSR, and on its opening day welcomed more than 30,000 customers – a world record. Channel.
The huge queue in front of the restaurant has become a legend.
The most visited McDonald’s restaurant in the world, according to American Group statistics, has welcomed over 140 million customers in 30 years, which is almost equal to the total Russian population.
Alexander Gower, who has operated 25 restaurants of the American Group in Siberia since 2015, bought the McDonald’s operations in May.
He is the co-founder of an oil refining company called Neftekhimservice, which employs 51,000 direct employees – 11,000 others who have agreed to be employed in franchised restaurants – for at least two years, under conditions similar to those they had in the past.
The 62-year-old entrepreneur, who is hitherto unknown outside the business world from Novokuznetsk (southern Siberia), says he has “very ambitious plans”: “We want the number of our restaurants to reach a thousand in five or six years.”