The Journal Gazette
 
 
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 1:00 am

McDonald's finally says dasvidaniya to Russia

DAVID KOENIG and DEE-ANN DURBIN | Associated Press

McDonald's is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country's isolation over its war in Ukraine.

The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald's said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue to pay those workers until the deal closes.

“Some might argue that providing access to food and continuing to employ tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, is surely the right thing to do,” McDonald's President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a letter to employees. “But it is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.”

McDonald's said it's the first time the company has ever “de-arched,” or exited a major market. It plans to start removing golden arches and other symbols and signs with the company's name. McDonald's said it will also will keep its trademarks in Russia and take steps to enforce them if necessary.

McDonald's said in early March that it was temporarily closing its stores in Russia but would continue to pay its employees. It was a costly decision. Late last month, the company said it was losing $55 million each month due to the restaurant closures. It also lost $100 million worth of inventory.

McDonald's has also closed 108 restaurants in Ukraine and continues to pay its employees there.

Western companies have wrestled with extricating themselves from Russia, enduring the hit to their bottom lines from pausing or closing operations in the face of sanctions. Others have stayed in Russia at least partially, with some facing blowback. 


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