BURGER fans in Russia cheered today as McDonald’s outlets reopened under a new name weeks after the fast-food giant pulled out of the country.
Swarms of people lined the streets to fix their fries after the US chain closed all of its restaurants over Putin’s bloody war in Ukraine.
The chain has been renamed Vkusno i Tochka, which means ‘Tasty Point’ – and is also a sharp jibe since Russia has bombed Ukraine with the OTR-21 Tochka-U ballistic missile.
McDonald’s, which opened in Russia 30 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed, had 847 stores in the country until the US giant decided last month to pull the plug and sell its stores.
But despite the guise of a new name and fake copycat dishes like the “Grandee” burger, fast-food lovers have said the food tastes the same and the venues are outfitted exactly the same.
The branches were bought out by Putin’s pal Alexander Govor, who was pictured today grinning as he cut a ribbon in a restaurant in central Moscow.
General manager Alexander Merkulov told Reuters the equipment and burger ingredients were identical, but some McDonald’s favorites were dropped from the menu.
Scores of people queued outside the former McDonald’s flagship restaurant on Pushkin Square in central Moscow.
The outlet sported a new logo—a stylized burger with two fries in the shape of an M—as well as a slogan that read, “The name changes, the love stays.”
McDonald’s iconic Golden Arches have been removed from the 15 locations reopening in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Hungry customer Sergei, 15, said: “The taste has stayed the same.
“The cola is different, but the burger really hasn’t changed.”
While some essential meals cannot be purchased, fast-food fans can snag a double cheeseburger for 129 rubles (£1.80) and a fish burger for 169 rubles (£2.40).
The logo has been replaced with a fresh logo consisting of two fries and a red dot hamburger patty on a gray background.
Oleg Paroyev, the general director of the new group, said: “The new name is Vkusno i Tochka.
“Our goal is that our guests don’t notice any difference in quality or ambience.”
The relaunch began on Russia Day, a patriotic holiday celebrating the country’s independence, at the same flagship location in Moscow’s Pushkin Square where McDonald’s first opened in Russia in January 1990.
He told a news conference in Moscow that another 50 restaurants are expected to open across Russia tomorrow, with about 200 of them expected to be operational by the end of June.
Russian businessman Alexander Govor was a franchisee of several restaurants in Siberia.
He said he stepped in to save thousands of jobs across the country after McDonald’s announced in May it was selling its Russian portfolio of nearly 850 restaurants.
How much he paid for the chain is not known.
McDonald’s opened its first store in Moscow’s Pushkin Square in 1990 when 30,000 people queued to have their first Big Mac.
Due to the low Russian wages, this was a luxury in the country at the time.
But the US giant abandoned its offices in Russia last month as Putin’s war raged on – leaving Ukraine’s landscape littered with rubble and heavy bloodshed.
The company said, “The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the resulting unpredictable operating environment have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable.”
When McDonald’s announced it was closing its Russian restaurants in March, a devastated fan stocked his fridge with 50 burgers.
Others tried to make some money by selling McDonald’s groceries on auction sites.
An ad for a “still warm” full meal consisting of a double Big Mac, a double Royal, two large portions of fries, 18 McNuggets and mozzarella dippers sold for £255.
Another distraught fan chained himself to a McDonald’s branch in protest to keep it from closing.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5545717/russian-mcdonalds-queue-copycat-big-macs/ Russia’s McDonald’s is reopening with a huge queue for copycat Big Macs called “Grandees” in a rebranded chain named after MISSILE