McDonald’s opened its first location in the then-Soviet Union in Moscow’s Pushkin Square in January 1990. Tens of thousands of people lined up for hours to get their first taste of the West. As such, many say the Golden Arches have become a proxy of sorts for America and globalization.
Some had Predicted McDonald’s might fall victim to anti-American sentiment even before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine more than two weeks ago. The Chicago-based company shut down its 108 stores in Ukraine in a short order after the war began, but it held on to its Russian stores even amid mounting pressure.
Sales at those locations in both countries represent about 9% of the company’s overall revenue, so closing them was a hit to the company’s top line. McDonald’s continues to pay the salaries of its workers in Ukraine and its 62,000 Russian employees. Executives have since the company will lose $ 50 million each month the Russian stores are closed.
Experts have wondered how long it might take McDonald’s to regain Russian consumer trust once — and if — it reopens its locations in the country, 84% of which are company owned. If Russia does lift trademark restrictions, that question is further Complicated.