The owner of the Russian version of a former McDonald's restaurant, Alexander Govor.  (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).

“The name changes, but love remains”, is the motto with which the old McDonald’s stores reopened this Sunday in Russianow as a local brand after the American chain left the country due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The former restaurants of the group McDonald’swhich announced its departure from the country after more than 30 years of presence, were renamed “Vkousno i tochka” (“Delicious. Period.”)

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The characteristic yellow logo was replaced by two orange stylized stripes representing two French fries accompanied by a red dot.

“We try to do everything possible so that our customers do not notice any difference, neither in the atmosphere nor in taste nor in quality,” said the group’s general director, Oleg Paroyev.

The owner of the Russian version of a former McDonald’s restaurant, Alexander Govor. (Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).

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The new owner of the restaurant chain, Alexander Govor, promised that the taste will not change and that he will try to make it better.

“We hope that the number of customers will not decrease but will increase. Especially since it is now a wholly Russian company,” Govor said.

Govor, 62, operated 25 restaurants under the McDonald’s franchise in several Siberian cities since 2015, until he reached an agreement to purchase the business on May 19, three days after McDonald’s reported its exit from the Russian market. .

An employee holds a food order on a tray in the Russian version of a former McDonald's restaurant after the opening ceremony in Moscow on June 12, 2022. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)
An employee holds a food order on a tray in the Russian version of a former McDonald’s restaurant after the opening ceremony in Moscow on June 12, 2022. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

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McDonald’s had been established in the country for 30 years and was one of the first windows that the country, which was still the Soviet Union, had towards the Western world. That is why it was a very popular brand and represented about 9% of the turnover of the American group.

Modified names and neutral packaging

On Sunday morning, before the scheduled opening time, at 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT), dozens of people were waiting in front of the brand’s most emblematic store in Pushkin Square in Moscow.

This was the historic restaurant where the first McDonald’s opened, with huge queues, in January 1990.

“Millions of customers are going to have the chance to come to their favorite restaurant again,” Paroyev said at the opening, where Govor was applauded by the crowd.

“It’s delicious, good and not expensive,” enthuses Oleg, a 31-year-old logistics specialist who was one of the first customers to receive his order. “I wouldn’t say it’s nostalgia, but rather habit,” he added.

An employee prepares a double cheeseburger in the Russian version of an old McDonald's restaurant.  (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).
An employee prepares a double cheeseburger in the Russian version of an old McDonald’s restaurant. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).

Anna, a 45-year-old accountant, celebrated that when McDonald’s was thought to have closed, it reopened.

“That’s great,” she exclaimed as she finished her fries.

On Monday another 50 stores will open their doors and later the chain expects to reopen between 50 and 100 restaurants per week throughout the country.

Paroyev said they had to remove some menu items that directly reference McDonald’s, such as the McFlurry and the Big Mac. The packaging has become neutral, as no item can refer to the McDonald’s group.

Double cheeseburgers in wraps in the Russian version of an old McDonald's restaurant.  (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).
Double cheeseburgers in wraps in the Russian version of an old McDonald’s restaurant. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP).

Paroyev said prices for the burgers would be slightly higher than the US chain’s due to inflation in Russia, but said they would remain “affordable.”

The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, visited this emblematic restaurant on Sunday morning, and assured in the Telegram message that “the quality of the service would remain the same.”

McDonald’s, which had temporarily closed its restaurants in Russia at the beginning of March, announced on May 16 that it was definitively withdrawing from the country and that it was selling all its operations, justifying this decision by the need to “remain uncompromising” with respect to its “values”. ”.

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