Drive 250 km to buy the last McDonald’s

At a train station in Moscow on May 17, a long line of people waited to buy burgers at one of the few McDonald’s stores still open.

“McDonald’s is currently operating in only a few locations. I miss McDonald’s, so when I go to St Petersburg, I stop by here and buy a Big Mac.” Irina, 32, who waited in line at the McDonald’s branch in Leningradsky station.

On May 16, the American fast food company McDonald’s announced that it would withdraw from Russia and sell all of its business in this country after 30 years of operation. The Russian market accounts for 9% and 3% of McDonald’s sales and operating profits, respectively.

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A McDonald’s in Russia. (Photo: Reuters)

The company said employees will still be paid until the transaction is complete and “employees are guaranteed employment with a new buyer”.

Earlier in March, McDonald’s decided to close all 850 stores in Russia after Moscow launched a special military operation in Ukraine. There are about 62,000 employees working for McDonald’s branches in Russia.

In a statement released earlier this week, the American fast food brand said the conflict in Ukraine and the unpredictable business environment make it “no longer stable and appropriate to continue operating in Russia.”

McDonald’s is planning to sell 84% of its stores in Russia to locals. The future of the rest of the restaurants operated by franchisees remains unclear.

The new owner will not be able to use the McDonald’s name, logo and menus. This has some Russians worried that the quality of the product will be affected.

“Yesterday, I read that McDonald’s is closing and opening under a new name. So I came here today to buy my favorite cheeseburger, milkshake and fries.” Alla, 21 years old said.

Franchise restaurants have remained open and their business has grown significantly since the “original” McDonald’s stores closed.

From the southern Russian city of Samara, a man drives 2.5 hours to one of the few McDonald’s stores still open in southern Russia as well as Siberia.

“I specifically went to this McDonald’s from Samara, about 250 km. I miss the atmosphere here.” shared man.

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