McDonald’s, KFC temporarily pause operations in Russia

Quick service restaurant chains McDonald’s and KFC have halted all Russian business following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - APRIL 20: People Buying Fried Chicken At A Local Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant on April 20, 2014 In Bucharest, Romania.
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - APRIL 20: People Buying Fried Chicken At A Local Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant on April 20, 2014 In Bucharest, Romania.
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Quick service restaurant (QSR) chains McDonald’s and KFC have halted all Russian business following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

KFC suspends operations

Yum! Brands, the parent company of fried chicken chain KFC, announced that they were suspending operations at 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in Russia. 

“This action builds on our decision to suspend all investment and restaurant development in Russia and redirect all profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts,” Yum! Brands said in a statement on their website.

These efforts include a $1 million donation to the Red Cross, activating the Yum! Disaster Relief Fund to support Ukrainian employees and matching donations from employees to UNICEF, Red Cross, World Food Programme and International Rescue Committee.

Previously, Yum! Brands announced plans to temporarily halt all investment and restaurant development in Russia. 

There are currently 1,000 KFC restaurants in Russia, with the majority operated by franchisees. Russia is a key market for Yum! Brands, which planned to triple the number of KFC restaurant locations worldwide in the next few years.

McDonald’s closes Russian restaurants

McDonald’s will also temporarily shutter its 850 locations in Russia but will continue to pay all Russia-based employees. The closures could cost the QSR up to $50 million per month, the New York Post said.

In a message to staff and franchisees, Chris Kempczinski, the chief executive of McDonald’s, said the situation was “extraordinarily challenging for a global brand like ours… We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners.”

“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people. As a system, we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace,” Kempckinski added.

McDonald’s opened its first Russian restaurant in 1990. The Moscow location is considered a post-Soviet landmark, giving Russians their first experience with American fast food, according to The Irish Times.

The brand’s restaurants in Ukraine and Russia currently generate 9% of McDonald’s global revenue. 

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