Fifteen restaurants “Vkousno i totchka” (delicious. Point) opened their doors on Sunday in Russia, replacing the old McDonald’s restaurants. The opening ceremony of the new restaurant in Moscow attracted nostalgic customers from the departure of the American fast food chain from Russia.
“Name changes, love is there”: The first “Russian McDonald’s” opened its doors under this slogan on Sunday, June 12, in a country nostalgic for the American fast food chain that left Russia in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
“Vkousno i totchka” (delicious. Point) is the new name of the brand, which was published in Moscow on Sunday in front of a hundred Russian and foreign journalists. The new logo represents two stylized orange fringes and a red dot on a green background.
“We will try our best to ensure that our customers do not notice any difference in atmosphere, taste or quality,” promised Oleg Faroev, general manager of the chain.
“It’s not going to be bad, it’s for sure. We will try to do it better than before,” said Alexandre Gower, the new owner and businessman.
“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease, but rather increase it. Especially now that it is a purely Russian company,” he added.
Founded in Russia for more than 30 years, McDonald’s was one of the first windows opened for Russians in the Western world and anchored in their daily lives and in their hearts. The most popular, Russian restaurants account for about 9% of US group revenue.
Fifty new restaurants from Monday
Its decision to suspend the operations of its 850 restaurants and 62,000 employees in March and then forcibly leave the country in May due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, was badly digested by the Russians.
The long queue outside McDonald’s in the Russian capital is long, facing Pushkin Square, one of the first fifteen restaurants to welcome customers on Sunday.
“Millions of customers have the opportunity to come back to their favorite restaurant”, launched by Oleg Paroïev during the ceremony, welcomed by Alexandre Govor and praised by the public, these dishes are “nothing comparable”.
A further 50 restaurants are scheduled to open on Monday, and then plans to reopen 50 to 100 restaurants per week across the country.
“Slightly increased” prices
On the menu, the same range as before: cheese and double cheese burgers, a variety of ice creams and desserts, but Filet-O-Fish is now called Fishburger, replaced by Royal Deluxe Grand Deluxe and prefix. McDo no longer appears by any name.
“I was forced to remove some products from the menu because they refer directly to McDonald’s, such as McFlurry and Big Mac,” Oleg Paroïev explains.
Inflation has hit Russia hard since new Western sanctions were imposed in February and March following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but prices have risen “slightly,” according to the general director of “Vkousno i totchka”.
As for the packaging, it is “neutral”: “no word, no letter” to remind McDonald’s team, he explains.
Alexandre Gower, who has run the US Group’s 25 restaurants in Siberia since 2015, bought McDonald’s operations in May.
Co-founder of oil refining company Neftekhimservice, he agreed to keep 51,000 direct employees – employees of 11,000 owned restaurants – for at least two years, under the same conditions as before.
The 62-year-old entrepreneur from Novokuznetsk (southern Siberia), who is hitherto unknown outside the business world, says he has “very ambitious plans”: “We want the number of our restaurants to reach a thousand in five or six years.”