© Reuters. Employees take part in preparations before the opening of a new restaurant, following McDonald’s Corp company’s decision to sell its restaurants in Russia to one of its local licensees that will rebrand them under a new name, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 20
(Reuters) -McDonald’s restaurants flung open their doors in Moscow once again on Sunday under new Russian ownership and a new name: Vkusno & tochka, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it”.
The new dawn for Russia’s fast-food scene will initially see 15 rebranded restaurants open in and around the capital after the U.S. burger giant turned its back on the country over what Russia calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The reopening of the outlets, three decades after McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) first opened in Moscow in a symbolic thaw between East and West, could provide a test of how successfully Russia’s economy can become more self-sufficient and withstand Western sanctions.
Oleg Paroev, chief executive of Vkusno & tochka, said the company was planning to reopen 200 restaurants in Russia by the end of June and all 850 by the end of the summer.
“Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience,” Paroev told a media conference in what used to be the first McDonald’s restaurant that opened in Soviet Moscow in 1990.
Alexander Govor, the new owner of the chain, said the company employs 51,000 people.
“The corporation asked me to, first of all, keep the headcount, to provide people with work. That’s what I’m going to do,” he added.
The rebranded fast-food chain will keep its old McDonald’s interior but will expunge any references to its old name, said Paroev, who was appointed Russia McDonald’s CEO weeks before Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Paroev said the company would keep “affordable prices” but did not rule out that they would go up slightly in the near term.