Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

“The name changes, love stays”: Under this slogan, the first “Russian McDonald’s” opened their doors in the country on Sunday, which is reminiscent of the American fast-food chain that is leaving the country because of the conflict in Ukraine Has.

• Also read: Russian attack on western Ukraine: At least 22 injured, says regional governor

“Vkousno i totchka” (Delicious Point) is the brand’s new name, which was unveiled in Moscow on Sunday in front of a hundred Russian and foreign journalists. The new logo represents two stylized orange fries and a red dot on a green background.

Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

“We will try to do everything so that our customers do not notice any difference, neither in the atmosphere, nor in the taste, nor in the quality,” assured the chain’s general director, Oleg Paroïev.

“It won’t get any worse, that’s for sure. We will try to do better,” added the new owner, businessman Alexandre Govor.

Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease, but on the contrary will increase. Especially now that it is an all-Russian company,” he added.

Established in Russia for more than 30 years, McDonald’s was one of the first windows on the western world to open up to Russians and become embedded in their daily lives and hearts. The very popular Russian restaurants accounted for around 9% of the American group’s sales.

Their decision to shut down the work of their 850 restaurants and 62,000 employees in March and leave the country permanently in May because of the Russian offensive in Ukraine launched on February 24 was badly digested by the Russians.

Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

Simple packaging, names changed

“My whole family went to McDonald’s … three times for a farewell dinner,” Elena, a programmer and mother of two, told AFP on Sunday.

“Now we’re going to a reunion dinner,” she smiles.

On Sunday morning, well before the official opening at 9:00 am, dozens of people gathered near the Russian capital’s emblematic restaurant, Pushkin Square, one of the first fifteen restaurants to welcome customers.

Another 50 restaurants are set to open on Monday, according to Paroev, with the chain then planning to reopen 50 to 100 restaurants a week across the country.

Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

The menu is the same as before: cheese and double cheeseburgers, a wide selection of ice cream and desserts, but the Filet-O-Fish is now called the Fishburger, the Royal Deluxe has been changed to the Grand Deluxe and the McDo prefix no longer appears on the name on.

“We were forced to remove certain items from the menu because they relate directly to McDonald’s, such as McFlurry and Big Mac,” explains Oleg Paroïev.

Prices have “risen slightly” due to inflation, which has hit Russia hard since the introduction of new western sanctions in February and March as a result of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, but they remain “reasonable”, according to the general director of “Vkousno i totchka “.

The packaging is “neutral”: “Not a word, not a letter” should remind of the McDonald’s group, he explains.

“Ambitious Projects”

The first McDonald’s in the USSR, Pushkin Square, was inaugurated in central Moscow in January 1990, a little less than two years before the collapse of the USSR, and welcomed more than 30,000 customers on opening day – a world record for the channel.

The gigantic queue in front of the restaurant has become legendary.

According to the American group, the most visited McDonald’s restaurant in the world has welcomed more than 140 million customers in 30 years, which is almost the entire population of Russia.

Alexandre Govor, who has been running 25 of the American group’s restaurants in Siberia since 2015, bought McDonald’s operations in May.

Nostalgic Russia opens its “Russian McDonalds”

As a co-founder of an oil refinery company, Neftekhimservice, he agreed to keep the 51,000 direct employees – 11,000 others are franchise restaurant employees – for at least two years on terms equivalent to those they previously had.

The 62-year-old entrepreneur from Novokuznetsk (southern Siberia), previously unknown outside the business world, says he has “very ambitious plans”: “We want the number of our restaurants to reach the thousand mark in five, six years.

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