The American fast food chain McDonald’s announced its decision to temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia and suspend all its operations in the country, following the steps of several multinationals that decided to distance themselves from Moscow after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The group will continue to pay its 62,000 employees in the country, company CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a message.
McDonald’s was in a way the symbol of the big companies that had so far decided to continue their activities in Russia, almost two weeks after the invasion of Ukraine.
But he was under increasing pressure, particularly after the #BoycottMcDonalds hashtag on social media.
“The situation is extraordinarily difficult for a global brand like ours and there are many considerations to take into account,” Kempczinski stressed in his message in which he reminds staff but also suppliers and customers.
Russia, where McDonald’s directly manages more than 80% of the restaurants that bear its name, also represents 9% of the group’s turnover and 3% of its operating profit.
“At the same time, respecting our values means that we cannot ignore the pointless human suffering that takes place in Ukraine,” he adds.
McDonald’s “will continue to evaluate the situation and determine if additional measures are necessary,” said the person in charge.
Currently, it is “impossible to predict” when restaurants will be able to reopen, says the manager. In addition to the humanitarian situation, the group must manage supply chain disruptions and other operational issues.
Other large American chains such as Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut in Russia are themselves managed by independent owners under franchise or license.
Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, announced on Monday night the suspension of all its investments in the country and pledged, like Starbucks, to give all profits from its activities in Russia to humanitarian operations.
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