Big Macs and McFlurrys have been removed from the menu in Russia after the chain pulled out of the country over its Ukraine promotions – but new company Vkusno & tochka, or ‘Tasty and that’s it’, reportedly had a record-breaking opening day
(Credit: MAXIM SHIPENKOV/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Russia’s rebranded McDonald’s sold 120,000 burgers on opening day after the chain pulled out of the country over its promotion in Ukraine.
The iconic golden arches have been torn down from shopfronts in several locations in and around Moscow after more than three decades of operation in Russia.
The fast-food chain’s arrival in Russia in the early 1990s, as the Soviet Union collapsed and epitomized the thawing of Cold War tensions, was a vehicle for millions of Russians to sample American food and culture.
But now Big Macs and McFlurrys are firmly off the menu — with new company Vkusno & tochka, or “Tasty and that’s it,” reopening in their place.
The new chain was reportedly having a record-breaking day after 50 restaurants opened in and around Moscow, when crowds were pictured queuing to get a first taste of their offerings.
Chief Executive Oleg Paroev is keen on adding locations but acknowledged the challenge of substituting some ingredients and
suppliers and dealing with other franchisees who still use the McDonald’s branding.
McDonald’s exit saga shows both how difficult it is for Western consumer companies, which have decided to abandon Moscow’s operations in Ukraine to sever all ties with Russia, and for local operators to replace popular brands.
Thousands who came to the opening of Vkusno & Tochka’s flagship store in Moscow’s Pushkin Square were greeted by a new logo, a new colour
Schematic and packaging stripped of all McDonald’s trademarks as the new company lost rights to the US corporation’s trademarks and intellectual property.
“On the first day we sold almost 120,000 burgers,” said Paroev. “We have never seen such a daily turnover in all this time
McDonald’s worked in Russia.”
While Paroev doesn’t expect this demand to continue, he wants to exceed new owner Alexander Govor’s growth target and achieve it ahead of time. Govor’s goal is to reach 1,000 stores in four to five years, up from around 850 under the McDonald’s brand.
The hiring will continue, said Paroev, who also wants to expand cooperation with strategic partner Sberbank but ruled out a shareholder role for Russia’s top lender.
Govor, who previously operated 25 restaurants, said at the launch that he paid a “token” sum for McDonald’s Russia and that the
The US group had made it clear that it would not make use of a 15-year buyback option.
Expressing his personal opinion, Paroev said McDonald’s could return to Russia if Vkusno & Tochka became franchisees again.
stressed, however, that there had been no talks in this regard.
AFP via Getty Images)
In an emailed statement, McDonald’s said it had “completed the sale of its Russian business and exited the market.”
Some former McDonald’s franchisees have retained their branding on packaging and electronic menus, and are selling Big Macs under a different name, causing Vkusno & Tochka a headache.
“Of course we’re not happy about that,” said Paroev.
While continued use of the McDonald’s brand violates Russian law, the company cannot take legal action because it has no rights to the brand, he said.
Rosinter Restaurants, an ex-franchisee who still operates at train stations and Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg, did not respond to a request for comment.
Vkusno & Tochka has suggested that former franchisees join the new brand, Paroev said, with one already agreeing.
Govor bought around 700 restaurants, Paroev said, leaving about 100 unaccounted for, while Vkusno & Tochka still has
Access to old suppliers that other ex-franchisees don’t.
“It’s a mystery to me what products are sold there,” he said of restaurants in train stations and airports, continuing to speak
Friday. “But I can say with certainty that these are absolutely not the same products or ingredients that were previously sold
Vkusno & Tochka is determined to maintain product quality, Paroev said, but maintaining a familiar flavor is a challenge.
Although 99% of the products come from Russian suppliers, Paroev said that “a significant percentage” of the ingredients are sourced
abroad, a process complicated by sanctions and supply chain disruptions.
Vkusno & Tochka is looking for a new beverage supplier as Coca-Cola depletes its stocks in Russia, Paroev said. The coffee blend stays, he said, and is now being supplied by an Indian investor who has bought Finnish company Paulig’s Russian operations.
As agreed with McDonald’s, recipes will change and a Big Mac replacement is in the works, Paroev said.
“It’s a pretty big loss,” he said. “The fact that it’s now gone from the menu doesn’t help us.”
Establishing the new brand will take time, but Paroev was optimistic.
“Our guests will get used to the new name and understand that they are no longer with a ‘Mac’ but with a ‘Tochka’.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russias-rebranded-mcdonalds-sells-120000-27305494 Russia's rebranded McDonald's sells 120,000 burgers on opening day - World News