It’s a Russian modernization of an American icon.
Fast-food giant McDonald’s has withdrawn from Russia in protest at the invasion of Ukraine and has sold its more than 800 restaurants here to Russian businessman Alexander Govor.
This Sunday, the first restaurants are reopening in Moscow under a new brand.
There’s a new name: “Vkusno i Tochka” , which translates to ” Delicious, period “.
The characteristic yellow letter M of the McDonalds logo has been replaced by two stylized French fries and a dot (or is it a hamburger?)
Gone are the Big Mac and the McFlurry.
But the new owners hope customers won’t notice too many differences.
They held a press conference at the flagship restaurant on Pushkin Square, where Moscow’s first McDonald’s opened 32 years ago.
“Our goal is that our customers do not notice the difference in quality or atmosphere,” said Oleg Paroyev, CEO of Vkusno i Tochka.
“The name changes, the love remains,” says the slogan.
But one protester stormed the event saying, “Bring the Big Mac back!”
Back in 1990 I was in the huge queue: it took me three hours to get in and be served. I remember the emotion.
The arrival of McDonald’s was a symbol of Soviet Russia embracing Western ideas , Western culture, Western food.
What is happening this Sunday here is also symbolic: of how Russia and the West are drifting apart.
We’re not just talking about burgers. Many global brands and multinational companies have suspended their business in Russia or have been sold and pulled out altogether, in protest of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
Govor, a Siberian oil tycoon, aims to reopen about a quarter of McDonald’s 850 restaurants under his new name by the end of the month.
Last month, McDonald’s announced it was leaving Russia due to the “humanitarian crisis” and the “unpredictable operating environment” caused by the war.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9% of McDonald’s global sales last year.
Starbucks, Coca Cola, Levi’s and Apple are among the international brands that have left Russia or suspended sales here since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Russia is now under wide-ranging international sanctions , which are disrupting its supply chains and driving up unemployment.
- Steve Rosenberg
- BBC News, Russia