McDonald’s new logo in Russia is strange to say the least

“The name changes, the love remains”: the first “Russian McDonald’s” opened their doors on Sunday under this slogan in the country nostalgic for the American fast-food chain which left Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine. “Vkousno i totchka” (“Delicious, period”) 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 director general of the chain, Oleg Paroïev. “It won’t be worse, that’s for sure. We’ll 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 thirty 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.

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 badly digested by the Russians.

Plain packaging, names changed

A long queue stretched outside the Russian capital’s iconic McDonald’s on Sunday, facing Pushkin Square – one of the first 15 restaurants to welcome customers on Sunday – long before the official grand opening. pump at 9:00 a.m. GMT.
“Millions of customers once again have the opportunity to come to their favorite restaurant”launched Mr. Paroïev during the ceremony, while Mr. Govor greeted, ovation by the public, the return of these dishes “comparable to nothing”.

“It’s delicious, beautiful and inexpensive”enthuses Oleg, a 31-year-old logistics specialist, one of the first customers to receive his order. “I wouldn’t say it’s nostalgia, but rather habit”he adds, all smiles. “We thought McDonald’s had closed, and then all of a sudden it’s reopening! It’s great”exclaims Anna, a 45-year-old accountant, finishing her packet of fries.

On Monday, fifty more restaurants are due to open, with the chain then planning to reopen fifty to one hundred restaurants a week across the country. 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 have been forced to remove certain products from the menu because they refer directly to McDonald’s, such as McFlurry and Big Mac”explains Oleg Paroev.

The prices have “slightly increased” due to inflation hitting Russia hard since the imposition of new Western sanctions in February and March, in the wake of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, but they remain “reasonable”, according to the general director of Vkusno i totchka. As for the packaging, it is “neutral” : “no word, no letter” must not recall the McDonald’s group, he explains.

“Ambitious projects”

The first McDonald’s in the USSR, Pushkin Square, was inaugurated in the very center of Moscow in January 1990, a little less than two years before the collapse of the USSR, and welcomed more than 30,000 customers on opening day – a world record for the channel. The gigantic queue in front of the restaurant has become legendary. The most visited McDonald’s restaurant in the world, according to figures from the American group, it has welcomed more than 140 million customers in thirty years, the equivalent of almost the entire Russian population.

Alexandre Govor, who has operated twenty-five 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 projects” : “We want the number of our restaurants to reach a thousand within five or six years.”

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