Former McDonald's Russia Restaurants Reopen In Moscow Under New Name And Logo

In the end, it took former Siberian businessman and McDonald's franchisee-turned-fast-food-owner Alexander Govor under a month to turn McDonald's Russia into "Vkusno & tochka," or "Tasty & that's it."  And when the old restaurant reopened its doors on June 12 with a new name, new logo, and under new management in Moscow's Pushkin Square, the BBC says crowds formed outside to see what Russia's latest fast-food had to offer, just as they had flocked to the first McDonald's that had opened on the same site 33 years ago.

During a press conference at the former McDonald's flagship, the new company's CEO  Oleg Paroyev said, "Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience." And in an effort to stay true to its promise, the burgers at Vkusno & tochka are still being cooked up on the same equipment that was once used by McDonald's. Employees are making fries and flipping burgers at restaurants that were once McDonald's but now sport a new logo: one with two pieces of fries and a burger against a bright-green background, which had been described on social media as "the Marriott hotel logo crossed with the flag of Bangladesh," per The Guardian

This could well be the first high-profile pullout from Russia undertaken by a Western company but it might not be the last, especially since Starbucks and Marriott have said they're wrapping up operations in Russia, too, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Diners lined up at the newly rebranded restaurant

Thanks to the speed at which Vkusno & tochka took the Golden Arches' place in Moscow, it could be tempting to say that sanctions haven't taken effect in Russia, and aren't likely to. But Vkusno & tochka's CEO Oleg Paroev has already warned, according to The Wall Street Journal, that "some items on the menu aren't currently available, due to logistical difficulties."

Paroev also says the smaller menu, which currently consists of the "Grand de Luxe" burger, french fries, breaded shrimp, chicken nuggets, and cherry pies in the familiar sleeve packaging could change, too; but that would depend on what overseas suppliers could send into the restaurant's kitchens. Then there is the matter of the Big Mac, which new owner Alexander Govor called "the story of McDonald's," per Reuters, and the McFlurry — both McDonald's-trademarked items. They're missing from the Vkusno & tochka menu, but Gover says there are plans to "definitely do something similar."

This is the first time in its company's history that McDonald's says it has "de-Arched" or pulled out of a market — and it represents a significant loss for the company, which had lost $100 million worth of inventory and $55 million a month because it had closed its restaurants to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine, per The Associated Press. All told, McDonalds could take a hit of $1.4 billion from the pullout.

But all is not lost, at least not for McDonald's. If everything rights itself, The Wall Street Journal reports McDonalds says it still has the right to buy its Russian restaurants back after 15 years.