By Chris King • 17 May 2022 • 16:33
Image of an old McDonald's restaurant in Moscow.
Credit: Creative Commons 3.0 - Mary Krueger
Burger giant McDonald’s announced on Monday, May 16 that it will not be reopening any of its 847 restaurants in Russia. The company halted its business in the country back in March, after the invasion of Ukraine. Now they will close all the sites permanently, and try to sell them.
The fast-food chain employs around 62,000 workers in Russia after opening the doors of its first restaurant in 1990, in Moscow’s Pushkin Square. On that day, an estimated 30,000 people queued up for a taste of McDonald’s burgers.
“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable”, read a statement from the company.
Most of the large fast-food brands have branches in Russia which are franchised, but McDonald’s actually owns 84 per cent of its restaurants. They have also promised to pay all the employees until buyers are found for the branches, and that they will endeavour to ensure that employees get work from any buyer.
The statement from McDonald’s continued: “The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable”.
“We’re exceptionally proud of the 62,000 employees who work in our restaurants, along with the hundreds of Russian suppliers who support our business, and our local franchisees”, said chief executive Chris Kempczinski in a statement.
He added, “Their dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s make today’s announcement extremely difficult. However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there”.
“It’s impossible to predict what the future may hold”, Kempczinski concluded, indicating that McDonald’s could come back to Russia in the future by finishing his statement with: “Until we meet again”. It is believed that leaving Russia will cost McDonald’s around £1 billion.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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