Goodbye Golden Arches: McDonald’s name changed to reopen in Russia

  • McDonald’s has been very popular in Russia since the early 1990s
  • It is among the Western companies that exited from Russia over Ukraine
  • The company has operated nearly 850 restaurants across Russia
  • McDonald’s restaurants reopen on Sunday with new ownership

June 10 (Reuters) – Sunday marks a new dawn for fast food enthusiasts in Russia like the former McDonald’s Corp. (MCD.N) The restaurants reopen under a new brand and new ownership, more than three decades after the arrival of the hugely popular Western fast food chain.

The relaunch will begin on Russia Day, a national day to celebrate the country’s independence, at the same prime location on Moscow’s Pushkin Square where McDonald’s first opened in Russia in January 1990.

In the early 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, McDonald’s restaurants came to embody Cold War tensions and were a way for millions of Russians to sample American food and culture. The brand’s exit is now a powerful symbol of how Russia and the West manage their backs to each other.

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McDonald’s said last month that it was selling its restaurants in Russia to one of its local licensors, Alexander Goffour. The deal is one of the most high-profile corporate departures since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24. read more

The famous “golden arches” of McDonald’s have been removed at locations in Moscow and St Petersburg, where a new logo consisting of two French fries and a hamburger patty on a green background will be made way. The reopening will initially cover 15 locations in Moscow and the surrounding region.

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The name of the new series remains a closely guarded secret. RBC daily reported that the McDonald’s app’s name change on Friday to “My Burger” sparked some online excitement, but the chain’s press team said this was only temporary.

A slogan on the app’s homepage read: “Some things change, but the stable business is here to stay.”

Russian media, citing leaked photos of the new menu, renamed dishes such as Filet-O-Fish to “Fish Burger” and Chicken McNuggets to “Nuggets”. Reuters was unable to verify the changes.

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Govor said he plans to expand the new brand to 1,000 locations across the country and reopen all of the chain’s restaurants within two months. But there may be some headwinds.

Building a brand takes decades, and a new launch is crucial to the brand’s future success, said Peter Gabrielson, professor of international marketing at Finland’s University of Vaasa.

“Opening day is important because it is the first time that consumers can feel, touch and see the brand and what it represents,” he said. “It is important how the reaction will be and obviously people will compare it to McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, owned 84% of nearly 850 restaurants across Russia and took responsibility for up to $1.4 billion after the sale to Govor, whose subsidiary GiD LLC previously operated 25 restaurants.

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Oleg Baroev of McDonald’s Russia said that other franchisees will have the option to operate under the new brand, but that the traditional McDonald’s brand will leave the country. McDonald’s said it would keep its brands.

Last year McDonald’s generated about 9%, or $2 billion, of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine. McDonald’s has the right to buy its restaurants in Russia within 15 years, but many of the terms of sale to Govor remain unclear.

The TASS news agency said, on Wednesday, that the McDonald’s restaurant will remain open as usual at airports and train stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg until 2023, citing a source close to Roscentre restaurants. (ROST.MM)Another franchisee.

“Rocentre has a unique agreement under which the American company cannot withdraw the concession. They can operate in peace,” TASS quoted the source as saying.

Roscentre declined to comment. McDonald’s did not immediately respond.

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(Reuters report) Editing by Matt Skovham and Gareth Jones

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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