When Russia’s re-branded McDonald’s restaurants opened in Moscow earlier this month, they smashed sales records set when the locations were adorned with golden arches, according to a Reuters interview with the firm’s chief executive.
If it wanted to harken back to the earlier days of its predecessor, new brand Vkusno & Tochka could have posted a sign saying “Over 120,000 Served” after just one day in operation. In the first wave, 50 locations opened in Moscow on June 12 and 13, including the firm’s flagship location on Moscow’s Pushkin Square.
“We have never seen such daily turnover in the whole time McDonald’s has worked in Russia,” Vkusno & Tochka CEO Oleg Paroev said.
Since the restaurants lost all rights to use McDonald’s branding and trademarks, Vkusno & Tochka–which roughly translates to “Tasty and That’s It”–is a completely new brand with a new logo, color scheme and names for the burgers and shakes.
While acknowledging that the novelty and historic nature of the event drove the impressive throngs that crowded the restaurants on opening weekend, Paroev is hoping to beat owner Alexander Govor’s goal to have a thousand stores in four to five years, eclipsing the 850 mark achieved by McDonald’s before the firm bolted in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
McDonald’s kept an option to reenter the market, reports Reuters:
Govor, who previously ran 25 restaurants, said at the launch that he paid a ‘symbolic’ sum for McDonald’s Russia and that the U.S. corporation had made it clear they would not exercise a 15-year buyback option.
In violation of Russian law, some former McDonald’s franchisees are still operating with McDonald’s branding, packaging and menus, but have renamed their Big Macs. Paroev doesn’t like having to compete with these Russian ghosts of Ronald McDonald: “Of course we’re not happy about this.”
While off to an auspicious start, Vkusno & Tochka is facing some adversity in the form of the U.S.-led trade war on Russia, as “a significant percentage” of the firm’s ingredients are sourced overseas, says Paroev.