This morning McDonald’s let the world know that it has started the process of selling its Russian business, that includes 850 restaurants which employ 62,000 people. This makes it the latest major Western corporation to leave Russia since it invaded the country of Ukraine .
“We have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values,” says CEO Chris Kempczinski in a statement, “and our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there.” Also the “dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s” employees and hundreds of Russian suppliers made it a difficult decision to leave.”
The first McDonald’s in Russia opened back in 1990 and was the first American fast food restaurant to open in what use to be the Soviet Union, just before its collapse in 1991.
McDonald’s is not the only company leaving. Shell and BP have also announced they are saying goodbye to Russia as well. Meanwhile, Starbucks, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, have already closed or paused their own operations in Russia.
Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, McDonald’s has more than 39,000 locations across more than 100 countries. Most are owned by franchisees — only about 5% are owned and operated by the company.
McDonald’s says leaving Russia will not change its forecast of adding a net 1,300 restaurants this year, which will contribute about 1.5% to companywide sales growth.
Even as it tries to sell its restaurants, McDonald’s will begin taking down the golden arches and other symbols and signs with the company’s name, but it will keep its trademarks in Russia.