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People queue to visit a newly-opened fast-food restaurant in a former McDonald’s outlet in Moscow Dmitry Serebryakov/AP
changed hands

Crowds flock to former McDonald’s outlet in Moscow as it reopens under new name

The US fast-food giant left Russia earlier this year in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Jun 2022

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE have streamed into a former McDonald’s outlet on Moscow’s Pushkin Square as the restaurant reopened under a Russian owner and a new name.

McDonald’s halted operations of its company-run restaurants in Russia in March.

Although some run by franchisees stayed open, the action by the multinational fast-food chain was among the most visible responses by foreign companies to Russia sending troops into Ukraine.

Two months later, McDonald’s decided to leave Russia altogether and sold its 850 restaurants to Alexander Govor, who held licences for 25 franchises in Siberia.

Govor is moving fast to reopen the outlets.

The Russian chain’s new name was only announced hours before the Pushkin Square restaurant opened – Vkusno-i Tochka (Tasty-full stop).

The logo is different, but still evokes the golden arches: a circle and two yellow oblongs – representing a beef patty and French fries – configured into a stylised M.

Fifteen former McDonald’s outlets reopened in Moscow today.

embedded267394621 Visitors order food on touchscreens at the newly-opened fast-food outlet

Oleg Paroev, the chain’s general director, said he aims to have 200 open by the end of the month.

As part of the sales deal, whose monetary terms were not announced, the new operation agreed to retain all 62,000 people employed by McDonald’s prior to its exit.

The crowd at the Pushkin Square outlet, however sizable and lively, was no match for the turnout for the McDonald’s opening in 1990, when people waited in line for hours.

At that time, McDonald’s had psychological and political resonance beyond hamburgers.

The opening was the first taste most Muscovites had of Western consumerism and service efficiency, as well as a sign the Soviet Union was slowly dropping its guard and allowing foreign culture into the country.

Today, that earlier symbolism echoed through the reopening with a note of nostalgia.

“This is a historic place – the flagship of McDonald’s,” Govor told reporters. “I’m sure it will be the flagship for us.”

embedded267394620 Staff wear familiar uniforms at the new outlet

Inside, the restaurant resembled a fraternal twin of its former self. There were touchscreens for placing orders and counter staff wore familiar polo-shirt uniforms.

“We’re sure that our customers won’t notice a difference between us,” Paroev said.

However he said the company will seek a new soft drinks supplier as it has limited stocks of Coca-Cola.

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