Goodbye Golden Bows: renamed McDonald’s to reopen in Russia

  • McDonald’s has been very popular in Russia since the early 1990’s
  • It is among the Western companies leaving Russia for Ukraine
  • The company had operated about 850 restaurants in Russia
  • McDonald’s restaurants will reopen on Sunday with a new property

June 10 (Reuters) – Sunday marks a new dawn for fast food lovers in Russia as old McDonald’s Corp. restaurants (MCD.N) reopen with a new brand and ownership, more than three decades after the arrival of the popular western fast food chain.

The relaunch will begin on Russia Day, a patriotic holiday celebrating the country’s independence, on the same landmark as Moscow’s Pushkin Square, where McDonald’s first opened in Russia in January 1990.

In the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed, McDonald’s came to embody a thaw in Cold War tensions and was a vehicle for millions of Russians to enjoy American food and culture. The departure of the brand is now a powerful symbol of how Russia and the West are turning their backs.

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McDonald’s said last month that it was selling its restaurants in Russia to one of its local licensors, Alexander Govor. The deal marked one of the most important business ventures since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24th. read more

McDonald’s iconic “Golden Bows” have been removed to Moscow and St. Petersburg, where they will give way to a new logo that includes two French fries and a burger on a green background. The reopening will initially cover 15 locations in Moscow and the surrounding region.

The name of the new chain remains a well-kept secret. A change in the name of the McDonald’s app on Friday in ‘My Burger’ sparked some excitement online, but the chain’s press team said this was only temporary, the RBC newspaper reported.

A slogan on the home page of the app said, “Some things are changing, but stable work has come to stay.”

Russian media, citing leaked images from the new menu, have reported changing the name of dishes such as Filet-O-Fish to “Fish Burger” and Chicken McNuggets to simply “Nuggets.” Reuters was unable to verify the changes.


A worker wears a disassembled McDonald’s Golden Arches outside a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 7, 2022. REUTERS / Anton Vaganov

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Govor has said it plans to expand the brand to 1,000 locations across the country and reopen all of the chain’s restaurants in two months. But there may be some headwinds.

It takes decades to build a brand, said Peter Gabrielsson, a professor of international marketing at Vaasa University in Finland, and the new launch is crucial to the brand’s future success.

“Opening day is important because it’s the first time consumers can really feel, touch and see the brand and what it stands for,” he said. “It’s important what the reaction is, and obviously people will compare it to McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, had owned 84% of its nearly 850 restaurants in Russia and raised up to $ 1.4 billion after the sale to Govor, which GiD LLC had previously run 25 restaurants .

Oleg Paroev of McDonald’s Russia has said other franchisees would have the option of working with the new brand, but the traditional McDonald’s brand will leave the country. McDonald’s has said it will retain its trademarks.

Last year, McDonald’s generated about 9%, or $ 2 billion, of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine. McDonald’s has the right to repurchase its Russian restaurants within 15 years, but many of the terms of the sale to Govor are still unclear.

The TASS news agency said Wednesday that McDonald’s would remain open as usual at Moscow and St. Petersburg airports and train stations until 2023, citing a source close to Rosinter Restaurants (ROST.MM), another franchisee.

“Rosinter has a unique agreement under which the American corporation cannot take out the franchise. They can operate in peace,” the TASS source said.

Rosinter declined to comment. McDonald’s did not respond immediately.

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Reuters report Matt Scuffham and Gareth Jones edition

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