The Russian alternative to McDonald’s in the face of the shortage of fries

The recently opened Russian alternative to McDonald’s – which left the country in May because of Russia’s war in Ukraine – is both a fast-food chain and a currency in Moscow’s propaganda campaigns.

In a shortage forged by symbolism, Vkusno i Tochka, which translates to “Tasty and that’s it”, is limiting the sale of french fries this summer because it is unable to stock up on enough potatoes, said Friday the company to the Russian news agency Tass.

The Russian franchise said it was running out of country-style potatoes on the menu, its thicker cousin the Americanized fry, due to supply chain disruptions caused in part by war and Western sanctions.

The fast-food chain, which opened archless in June, said it generally seeks domestic sources for its products. But a poor potato harvest last year left Russia with a limited supply, Vkusno i Tochka told Tass, and the company was unable to fill the void with starch imports. .

Vkusno i Tochka said potatoes will fully return to its menu this fall, after the next harvest. Other “major players” in the market are facing similar difficulties, the company told Tass.

On Telegram, however, Russia’s agriculture ministry denied news of a potato shortage, the BBC reported.

Moscow’s former McDonald’s reopens without Big Macs

Countries from Japan to Kenya have reported potato and chip shortages in recent months, also citing supply chain and environmental factors.

But Vkusno i Tochka’s burger and fries were also meant to be a token of Russian autonomy, forged amid the exit of more than 1,000 companies, including McDonald’s, and rounds of Western sanctions meant to punish and isolate Russia. for his war in Ukraine. .

McDonald’s is looking to sell a Russian company that is ‘no longer tenable’

At the time of the February 24 invasion of Moscow, McDonald’s employed about 62,000 people in 850 communities in Russia, according to a company statement.

Nearly two weeks after the war began, on March 8, the Chicago-based franchise temporarily suspended operations in Russia. The $180.8 billion company said it would continue to pay the salaries of Russian and Ukrainian employees and pledged to send aid to the latter.

In the third month of the war, McDonald’s general manager Chris Kempczinski declared that the company was leaving Russia altogether. It was “no longer financially tenable” to operate and “impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine”, he said in a statement.

McDonald’s decision in mid-May to pull out of Russia marked the first time the 40,000+ store franchise has left a major international market.

After more than three decades of investment, it took only days for McDonald’s to announce that it had reached an agreement with a Russian licensee. Alexander Govor, who previously ran 25 McDonald’s branches in Siberia, has agreed to buy the fast food chain’s portfolio and run the stores under a new brand.

McDonald’s is closing in Russia. His first restaurant in the USSR caused a sensation.

Vkusno i Tochka opened its first 15 locations in Moscow’s former McDonald’s restaurants in mid-June. Much of the menu remained the same, except for the American franchise’s “Mc” and “Mac” trademarks. By the end of the month, the company told Tass it had opened 142 branches and was aiming to reach 1,000.

Back when McDonald’s founding branch opened near the Kremlin in February 1990, thousands of Muscovites lined up for their first taste of capitalism in the final months of the Soviet Union, The Post reported. . The 900-seat restaurant was the franchise’s largest at the time.

Advertisements on a recently opened commercial TV channel urged, “If you can’t go to America, come to McDonald’s in Moscow.”

Annabelle Chapman contributed reporting from Luxembourg.

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