The American fast food giant has been renamed “Vkusno & Tochka”, which can be translated as “delicious and that’s all”.
The company, of which Oleg Barov is the day-to-day manager, plans to open 200 branches by the end of June and all branches by the end of the summer, according to a press release.
“If you remember, McDonald’s announced in May that they would remove their company from Russia. I’m very proud that they have chosen me to further develop this business. That means the company sees me as someone who shares all of McDonald’s business principles and values, ”Gofor said at a news conference.
“I do not want to hide that I am an ambitious man, so I want to not only open all 850 restaurants, but also develop new ones,” he said.
According to a press release, 62,000 former McDonald’s employees were also retained.
“Almost 32 years ago … there were a lot of people in Pushkinskaya Square when the first McDonald’s franchise opened here in Russia. It created a lot of madness. I think the madness will be just as crazy with this new chain of restaurants, with owner New, a real businessman, “said Alexey Alekseevich, head of the Moscow Ministry of Commerce, at a news conference Sunday.
McDonald’s later expanded its reach in the country, and at the beginning of March there were about 850 branches in Russia.
However, the chain decided to leave the country and sell its activities in Russia in line with several other Western companies in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.
“If the opening of McDonald’s in 1990 symbolized the beginning of a new era in Soviet life, an era of greater freedoms, the company’s current exit represents not only the closure of the company, but society as a whole.” Dara Goldstein, Wilcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit, professor emeritus of Russian language at Williams College, were noticed at the time.
The company’s new logo, which is shared with CNN, bears “the restaurant’s main symbols” – what is believed to be two pieces of french fries and an orange burger. The green background symbolizes “the quality of products and services that guests have come to expect,” according to CNN’s press office.
Although Vkusno & Tochka do not serve some of the more popular dishes on the McDonald’s menu – including the Big Mac – customers can still buy a double cheeseburger for 129 rubles (about $ 2.30), compared to about 160 rubles at McDonald’s and a fish burger to 169 rubles, instead of about 190 rubles before.
Alexander Merkulov, quality director of the new company, said that despite some changes to the menu, the composition of McDonald’s burgers and equipment remains the same.
CNN’s Fred Blitgen attended the opening and spoke with Sergei Vlasov, a 19-year-old shepherd wearing a “Z” hat – a reference to a symbol used by Russian troops during the war in Ukraine.
Vlasov told CNN that he saw no contradiction in showing his support for Russian troops in Ukraine while eating American fast food.
“Food and politics have nothing in common,” he said.
Vlasov said he believed McDonald’s withdrawal from Russia was an “economic measure holding us back”.
“I see it as clearly as day, and I know what to do, and I do not mind, I know it must be, just because the rest of the world sees us as aggressors, as we do, we have invaded a sovereign country by law. “” But also by law we have protected a nation fighting for its sovereignty, so there are many problems right now … I’m here just to enjoy a good old McDonald’s, man. “
Another customer, Artem Kirienko, told CNN that his Vkusno & Tochka double cheeseburger was “almost” the same as the one served at McDonald’s.
“It’s not what I expected,” he said, adding that he plans to come to the restaurant at least once a week.
When asked if he thought the renamed series would satisfy Russian customers, he said, “It’s okay … in these difficult times.”
Kirienko’s wife, Yekatarina, said that although she is not a fan of McDonald’s, she was eager to try a burger from Fkosno & Toshka because of the news about the renamed chain.
“It’s good to eat it, just to eat it once in a while,” Yekatarina told CNN.
However, she said she was skeptical whether the new restaurant would live up to her customers’ expectations.
“I think we’re going to see how it’s going to be, how it’s going to work, whether people will like it or not, and I do not think it’s a good idea because McDonald’s is history, it is a brand, “she says. said.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated how many McDonald’s restaurants reopened Sunday. It was 15.
Daniel Weiner Brunner, Chris Liakos and Anna Chernova from CNN contributed to this report.