‘Delicious and period’: Russians line up to try McDonald’s alternative


Siberian oil tycoon Alexander Gower has taken on a mission to replace McDonald’s with a new brand that mimics American and pretends that Russians don’t remember Western fast food.

An employee opened today at an establishment that replaced McDonald's in Moscow
An employee opened today at an establishment that replaced McDonald’s in MoscowAFP

32 years ago Oleg was a young man standing in line at McDonald’s before which opened in the Soviet Union. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has returned the country to an isolation in which all developments are news and entertainment. That’s why this Muscovite from the center has returned today, Sunday, to the same restaurant on Pushkin Square, to stand in line to meet, New brand that has taken over over 800 orphan burger joints.

The McDonald’s chain has left the country in protest of “war”, a term the Russian government refuses to speak in relation to Ukraine.

The new reality has a new name. The war in Ukraine is called a ‘special military operation’ in Russia, and The new brand to replace McDonald’s is called “Vakusno i Tochka”, Which translates as “delicious and period”. It is a polite and witty slogan, two important qualities in the new economy that await the Russians.

Little has changed inside the burger joint. The golden arches have disappeared because of the requirements of the contract. In addition eEl Big Mac and El McFlurry, But French fries grown in Russia taste even better. Oleg, sitting at a table near the door, pronounces his verdict: “I don’t see any difference, everything is just as good.” Previously, I Was a Good Customer at McDonald’s, and Now I’m Perfect for the new logo: Two Tangled French Fries What appears to be a fat dot or hamburger visible from above.

Oleg also seems to be a good consumer of Russian propaganda these days, trying to convince the Russians that Ukrainians are bombing their homes: “There is no war in Ukraine, Moscow hasn’t declared it and Kyiv hasn’t declared it either”, ditched with some chips in the mouth. “But we are moving towards a new world order with two parts: the penalty pass and the penalty pass,” he says with a hint of mischief in his eyes.

war economy.

Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9% of McDonald’s global sales last year. Russians are slowly adjusting to life without brands like Starbucks, Zara, Coca Cola, Levi’s and AppleGlobal companies that have fled a country where repression against citizens and the media gets harder every year.

Russia is subject to international sanctions that affect almost all sectors of its economy. Putin’s attack on Ukraine is affecting the country’s supply chain and unemployment is rising.

Troubles of crisis are trying to pacify with brush strokes of patriotism. The hamburger is wrapped in colors reminiscent of St. George ribbon, a Russian imperial ensign. And the presentation of the brand new – organized in the center and dotted with Russian flags – is made to coincide with Russia Day.

Shortly before the first Muscovites arrived during a sunny morning, the brand new owner held a huge press conference next to the counters. Alexander Gower, a Siberian oil tycoon, aims to reopen a quarter of the 850 rebranded McDonald’s restaurants by the end of the month: “I don’t hide that I’m ambitious, we want to go further after reopening whatever was closed.” Always with permission for supplies that are at risk in the medium term: “We will serve Coca-Cola while it remains in warehouses.”

Russia is not the USSR: Moscow alone has 3,000 fast food restaurants, so Russians don’t need the West to teach them fast, cheap and fun food. This time Just 15 minutes in queues to see the new ‘Cheesburger’ Which translates the name created for McDonald’s in America at that time into Cyrillic.

One young man tried to sabotage the act by reprimanding reporters: “Give us the Big Mac back, it’s necessary!”. There is a festive atmosphere and the facilities are immaculate.

like Oleg, Anna Patrunina was also there on that historic day in 1990 when McDonald’s The closing stages of the Soviet Union opened a new era. It was a nervous young Russian woman working behind the counter, ordered to smile all the time, a strange attitude in society at the time. In 2020, she celebrated 30 years of McDonald’s in what she still holds in her current position: Vice President of Company Operations. He assured that in 1990 there was more uncertainty than now: “We return with a new logo and a new brand, but we are the same people who have the same experiences and the same foodies, You’ll notice the prices haven’t changed and neither have our bets”, “32 years ago we were more concerned”, he recalls “because we didn’t know what was going to happen, now we do, but we have a lot of responsibility”.

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