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Rebranded McDonald's Restaurants Reopen In Russia But Without The Big Mac

Rebranded McDonald's Restaurants Reopen In Russia But Without The Big Mac
It may resemble and smell like McDonald's, but it is now Vkusno & tochka. The golden arches are vanished, and the Filet-O-Fish is now just a fish burger. The Big Mac is no longer available in Russia.
On Sunday, a new era for Russia's fast-food and economic scene began when McDonald's stores in Moscow reopened under new Russian management and with a new moniker, which translates as "Tasty and that's it."
The debut of the redesigned locations comes more than three decades after the American burger behemoth first opened its doors in Moscow in a symbolic thaw between East and West. The reopenings occurred on Russia Day, a national holiday commemorating national pride.
The prospects of the brand, which McDonald's sold when it left the country due to the Ukraine crisis, might be a litmus test for how successfully Russia's economy can become more self-sufficient and defy Western sanctions.
Hundreds of people queued outside what was formerly McDonald's flagship restaurant in Pushkin Square, central Moscow, on Sunday. The restaurant debuted a new logo, a stylized burger with two fries, as well as the phrase "The name changes, love stays."
The line was much less than the thousands of people who rushed to the original McDonald's opening in the Soviet Union in 1990.
"We need to avoid a drop in quality, so that everything stays as it was before, because we loved McDonald's," said IT worker Sardana Donskaya, who queued up 32 years ago for a first taste of a brand that had epitomised Western capitalism and returned on Sunday to usher in its successor.
The menu at Vkusno & Tochka was smaller and did not include the Big Mac or certain other burgers and sweets, such as the McFlurry. A double cheeseburger cost 129 roubles ($2.31), compared to around 160 at McDonald's, and a fish burger cost 169 roubles, compared to around 190 earlier.
According to Alexander Merkulov, quality manager at the new company, the burger composition has not altered, and the equipment from McDonald's has stayed.
McDonald's closed its Russian restaurants in March and announced in mid-May that it was leaving the country entirely, marking one of the most high-profile company withdrawals since Russia launched tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Most of the packaging for fries and burgers was simple white, as were drink cups, and takeaway bags were plain brown, indicating the urgency with which the new owners had to rebrand in time for the launch. Makeshift black markings were used to cover up the old McDonald's insignia on packets of ketchup and other sauces.
The premier Moscow restaurant is one of 15 redesigned locations that will open in and around the capital on Sunday. Vkusno & tochka CEO Oleg Paroev stated that the company aimed to reopen 200 restaurants in Russia by the end of June and all 850 by the end of the summer.
"For three months we did not work," said Ruzanna, manager of a Moscow branch due to open in July. "Everyone is very pleased."
According to Paroev, who was appointed McDonald's Russia CEO just weeks before the Ukraine conflict began, the business would preserve its old McDonald's interior but will remove any references to its prior name.
"Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience," Paroev said a news conference in the restaurant.
The new owner, Siberian businessman Alexander Govor, stated that the company plans to launch something comparable to McDonald's famous Big Mac.
"We don't have the right to use some colours, we don't have the right to use the golden arches, we don't have the right to use any mention of McDonald's," he told Reuters.
"The Big Mac is the story of McDonald's. We will definitely do something similar," he said. "We will try to do something even better so that our visitors and guests like this dish."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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