Fifteen restaurants “Vkousno i totchka” (Delicious. Point) opened their doors on Sunday in Russia, to replace the old McDonald’s restaurants. The inauguration of the new restaurant in Moscow has attracted nostalgic customers since the departure of the American fast-food chain from Russia.
“The name changes, the love remains”: the first “Russian McDonald’s” opened their doors on Sunday, June 12, under this slogan in the country nostalgic for the American fast-food chain, which left Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“Vkousno i totchka” (Delicious. Point) is the new name of the sign, unveiled Sunday in Moscow in front of a hundred Russian and foreign journalists. The new logo represents two stylized orange fries and a red dot on a green background.
“We will try to do everything so that our customers do not notice any difference, neither in terms of atmosphere, nor in terms of taste, nor in terms of quality”, assured the general manager of the chain, Oleg Paroïev.
“It won’t be worse, that’s for sure. We will try to make it better” than before, added the new owner, businessman Alexandre Govor.
“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease but on the contrary, that it will increase. Especially since now it is an entirely Russian company,” he added.
Established for more than 30 years in Russia, McDonald’s was one of the first windows on the Western world to open for Russians and became anchored in their daily lives and their hearts. Very popular, Russian restaurants accounted for around 9% of the American group’s turnover.
Fifty new restaurants from Monday
Its decision to suspend the work of its 850 restaurants and 62,000 employees in March, then to leave the country definitively in May because of the Russian offensive in Ukraine launched on February 24, was poorly digested by the Russians.
A long queue stretched Sunday outside the iconic McDonald’s in the Russian capital, facing Pushkin Square, one of the first fifteen restaurants to welcome customers on Sunday, well before the official opening which took place in large pump at 9 a.m. GMT.
“Millions of customers once again have the opportunity to come to their favorite restaurant”, launched during the ceremony Oleg Paroïev, while Alexandre Govor welcomed, applauded by the public, the return of these dishes “comparable to nothing”.
Another 50 restaurants are due to open on Monday, with the chain then planning to reopen 50 to 100 restaurants a week across the country.
Prices that have “increased slightly”
On the menu, the same range as before: cheese and double cheeseburgers, a wide range of ice creams and desserts, but the Filet-O-Fish is now called the Fishburger, the Royal Deluxe has been transformed into the Grand Deluxe and the prefix McDo no longer appears on any name.
“We were forced to remove certain products from the menu because they make direct reference to McDonald’s, such as McFlurry and Big Mac”, explains Oleg Paroïev.
Prices have “increased slightly” as inflation has hit Russia hard since new Western sanctions were imposed in February and March in the wake of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, but they remain “reasonable” according to the general director of “Vkousno i totchka”.
As for the packaging, it is “neutral”: “no word, no letter” should remind the McDonald’s group, he explains.
Alexandre Govor, who has operated 25 restaurants of the American group in Siberia since 2015, bought the activities of McDonald’s in May.
Co-founder of an oil refining company, Neftekhimservice, he agreed to keep the 51,000 direct employees – 11,000 others being employees of franchised restaurants – for at least two years, under conditions equivalent to those they had previously .
The 62-year-old entrepreneur from Novokuznetsk (South Siberia), hitherto unknown outside the business world, says he has “very ambitious plans”: “We want the number of our restaurants to reach a thousand by five or six years.