RUSSIA – Certain divorces are visibly harder to bear than others. American fast food chain McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia and suspend all operations in the country, following in the footsteps of many multinationals who have decided to distance themselves from Moscow.
However, the big yellow M was one of the symbols of Russia’s openness to the West. The iconic McDonald’s in Pushkin Square was the first major Western – and most iconic – brand to open in central Moscow on January 31, 1990, a major event for Soviets gripped by perestroika.
So today some Russians are having a hard time with this breakup. This is particularly evident in this photo that has gone viral on Reddit, where a user immortalized the contents of his friend’s refrigerator filled with McDonald’s burgers. Such as the fear of missing out, faced with the possibility of not seeing the brand’s restaurants in the country anymore.
The initiative made internet users laugh. “These don’t need to be refrigerated, FYI,” one commented, joking about the longevity of McDonald’s burgers, which are known to take a very long time to rot. “They last 20 years with all the chemicals in them,” another scoffs.
“If it’s not for personal consumption, it’s certainly a good business opportunity to sell stale burgers at an exorbitant price,” another netizen calls out. In this Reddit discussion, several people also advise the owner of this mountain of sandwiches to resell them at exorbitant prices.
And this idea has had many burger lovers. This is evident, for example, from the Avito ad site where BigMacs, Deluxe sauces and other McDonald’s products are resold at astronomical prices, as you can see in the screenshot below (translated from Russian to French). So we can see a menu sold for 10 million rubles, or a little more than 69,000 euros. Or a BigMac for 1900 rubles (13 euros).
According to New York PostRussians flocked to McDonald’s restaurants before closing to get one last taste of American burgers, creating queues hundreds of feet.
McDonald’s had become a symbol in the United States of the big companies that have so far chosen not to leave Russia, almost two weeks after the invasion of Ukraine. The hashtag #BoycottMcDonalds had recently appeared on social media.
‘Impossible to predict’ when restaurants can open again
“The situation is extremely difficult for a global brand like ours and there are many considerations to take into account,” the company’s CEO Chris Kempczinski underlined in his message by referring to the employees, as well as suppliers and customers. . The group will also continue to pay its 62,000 employees in the country.
Russia, where McDonald’s directly controls more than 80% of the restaurants that bear his name, represents 9% of group sales and 3% of operating profit. “At the same time, respecting our values means that we cannot ignore the unnecessary human suffering in Ukraine,” he added.
McDonald’s “will continue to assess the situation and determine whether further action is needed,” the official stressed. It is currently “impossible to predict” when restaurants can reopen, Chrid Kempczinski also indicated. In addition to the humanitarian situation, the group must deal with supply chain disruptions and other operational issues.
“Donbass is well worth McDonalds”
But not all Muscovites regret these closures. “Let them close if they want,” annoys Nikolaï Kopylov, 42, who comes out of the restaurant with a Big Mac in his hand. “The Donbass is worth McDonald’s,” adds this Muscovite.
“The lives saved in the Donbass (pro-Russian separatist area in eastern Ukraine that Moscow claims to be defending against a ‘genocide’, Ed) are far more important than good food,” said Stanislav, 18 years old.
Vassili Ivanov, 40, shares the same view: “Close what you want, we will only be stronger,” exclaims this former soldier, who believes the conflict in Ukraine is linked to “NATO surrounding us” and emphasized with “the utmost respect for Putin, only to the whole world”.
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