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Russia's rebranded McDonald's chain has got off to a record-breaking start, according to its chief executive.
McDonald's halted operations of its company-run restaurants in Russia back in March, and although some run by franchisees stayed open, the action by the multinational fast-food chain was among the most visible responses by foreign companies to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Two months later, McDonald's decided to leave Russia altogether and sold its 850 restaurants to Alexander Govor, who held licences for 25 franchises in Siberia.
On 12 and 13 June, 50 restaurants in and around Moscow reopened, with new logos, branding and packaging.
Thousands flocked to the flagship in Pushkin Square, with the new name Vkusno-i Tochka (Tasty and that's it) announced only hours before opening.
Chief exec Oleg Paroev - the former CEO of McDonald's Russia - told Reuters the chain started with a bang.
He said: "On the first day we sold almost 120,000 burgers. We have never seen such daily turnover in the whole time McDonald's has worked in Russia."
He added that he doesn't anticipate such demand lasting, however, he aims to have 200 restaurants open by the end of the month, and hopes to surpass owner Govor's target of adding a further 150 stores to the chain in the next four to five years.
The crowd at the Pushkin Square outlet for the opening, however sizable and lively, was no match for the turnout for the McDonald's opening in 1990, when people waited in line for hours.
At that time, McDonald’s had psychological and political resonance beyond hamburgers.
The opening was the first taste most Muscovites had of Western consumerism and service efficiency, as well as a sign the Soviet Union was slowly dropping its guard and allowing foreign culture into the country.
"This is a historic place – the flagship of McDonald's," Govor told reporters. "I'm sure it will be the flagship for us."
VIDEO: The space that became Russia's first McDonald's in Russia in 1990, reopens with a under name and logo in a potent reminder of the upheaval sparked by the conflict in Ukraine— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 12, 2022
Read more: https://t.co/63pxB1qz45 pic.twitter.com/KEwKWorEE5
Inside, the restaurant resembled a fraternal twin of its former self. There were touchscreens for placing orders and counter staff wore familiar polo-shirt uniforms.
"We're sure that our customers won't notice a difference between us," Paroev said.
However, he said the company will seek a new soft drinks supplier, as it has limited stocks of Coca-Cola.
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