McDonald’s temporarily closes restaurants in Russia due to war in Ukraine

McDonald’s announced on Tuesday that it would temporarily close 850 locations in Russia, almost two weeks after Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

CEO Chris Kempchinski wrote in a letter to franchisees and employees that the chain would suspend all operations in Russia. However, it will continue to pay its 62,000 Russian employees and the Ronald McDonald House charity will continue to operate.

The fast food giant has come under fire in recent days for its silence on the war, given its relatively large presence in Russia. McDonald’s restaurants in Russia and Ukraine account for 2% of system-wide sales, approximately 9% of revenue and 3% of operating income.

McDonald’s has long played a symbolic role in Russia as well. The chain opened its first establishment in the Soviet Union 32 years ago in Moscow, a few months before the collapse of the state.

About 84% of Russian McDonald’s establishments are owned by the company, the rest are managed by franchisees. Owning more restaurants generates more revenue for the company, but puts it at greater risk in times of turmoil or economic downturns.

McDonald’s announcement came after Yum Brands said it was suspending restaurant development and investment in Russia.

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