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Thread: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

  1. #1
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    This is a truly fascinating article.

    How McDonald’s went from hero to zero in Russia

    Following the news that McDonald's would pull out of Crimea, now de-facto a part of Russia, there's been a considerable amount of spite directed to the American fast food restaurant in Russia.
    Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, has said Russia should close down all locations of the chain in the country, and apparently many Russians support him: According to a recent poll conducted by SuperJob's Research Center, 62 percent of respondents support the closure of all McDonald's in Russia. Last week, Russian media reported that anti-McDonald's activists had appeared in several Russian cities. “Down with American Fast Food!” activists in Bryansk reportedly said.
    It's a sad state of affairs for the burger chain, whose first restaurant in Russia opened in happier times more than two decades ago in Moscow. The apparent success of the "golden arches" in the country was taken by many as a barometer of Russian westernization.
    The historic arrival of McDonald's in Russia had been a long time coming. After 14 years of negotiations, an agreement was reached in 1988, the same year that McDonald's opened a restaurant in Belgrade, its first in the Communist world. "The McDonald's golden arches will be appearing on the Moscow horizon," George Cohon, a McDonald's official, said at the time. "A Big Mac will taste the same in Moscow as it does in New York, Tokyo, Toronto or Rio."
    Moscow, back then referred to as the "slow food" capital of the world by The Post's David Remnick, apparently couldn't wait for the fast food. To meet a demand they were describing as "infinite," McDonald's announced plans for their biggest restaurant yet. The restaurant opened on Jan. 31, 1990, on Moscow's Pushkin Square, advertised with the slogan "If you can't go to America, come to McDonald's in Moscow." There were reports of huge lines, despite the five ruble cost of a meal (at the time, around half a days wages for an average Soviet worker).
    You can read the rest of the article there. There is a wonderfully illustrative video at the bottom showing the ENORMOUS line (or queues if you're a Brit) of people outside the first McDonald's in Moscow when it opened in early 1990.



    LOL. There's no way I'd wait that long for a burger, even if I had lived in the Soviet Union my entire life.

    On a side note, the Russian music in the video is entertaining.

    So what do you guys make of this? Does it make sense to target popular and long-loved American businesses like McDonalds because of the recent Crimea spat? Somehow I don't think Russians are going to stop eating crap American fast food any time soon, just like Americans aren't going to stop either. It's too addictive!

    Also, I really have to roll my eyes at the fact that many people think McDonald's represents American cuisine. The poor souls...they've never had an all-American beef chili dish with cornbread in their lives.

    Let alone key lime pie, jambalaya, biscuits n' gravy, California rolls, baked beans, fried chicken and waffles, New England clam chowder, Buffalo wings, BBQ ribs, Philly cheese steaks, Reuben sandwiches, Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing, and the list goes on and on.

  2. #2
    the_mango55's Avatar Reppin the Religious Left
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Burgers are a very iconic representation of American cuisine, especially since it's one of the few parts of American cuisine that applies to the entire country and isn't just regional like the others you mentioned.

    It's just that most fast food places do burgers really badly compared to how they can be done.
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    The sad things nationalism does...

    Then again, I have little sympathy for this brand, either.

  4. #4
    Heinz Guderian's Avatar *takes off trousers
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by the_mango55 View Post
    Burgers are a very iconic representation of American cuisine
    and culture




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    Border Patrol's Avatar Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Indeed, American's lovingly greet each other as "hamboorgureater"
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    Geronimo2006's Avatar TAR Local Moderator
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    I think it epitomises why companies are afraid to invest in Russia. Capital flight this year is already $70 billion. Most wealthy Russians keep their money abroad to shield against political retribution if they fall out of favour with Putin or his kleptocratic clique.
    Last edited by Geronimo2006; April 17, 2014 at 03:32 AM.
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    Rijul.J.Ballal's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    I think it epitomises why companies are afraid to invest in Russia. Capital flight this year is already $70 billion. Most wealthy Russians keep their money abroad to shield against political retribution if they fall out of favour with Putin or his kleptocratic clique.
    Ikea used to make huge profits in Russia,greater than their earnings in most Europe.Yet they refuse to expand there.
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    Geronimo2006's Avatar TAR Local Moderator
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Shades of the "Freedom Fries" controversy during the Iraq war after France criticised it.
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by the_mango55 View Post
    Burgers are a very iconic representation of American cuisine, especially since it's one of the few parts of American cuisine that applies to the entire country and isn't just regional like the others you mentioned.

    It's just that most fast food places do burgers really badly compared to how they can be done.
    lol i still chuckle when i hear the word cuisine, refering to american burgers... it realy doesnt feel right.

  10. #10

    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    If Ruskies feel unpatriotic about buying an American cultural export they can do a bit of renaming. McChicken Sandwich becomes Cossack Sandwich, Chicken McNuggets becomes Chicken Mosin-Nagant etc etc.

    'You can't beat a good Cossack sandwich... but in Putin's Russia, Cossack Sandwich beats you!'
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    sabaku_no_gaara's Avatar Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Geronimo2006 View Post
    I think it epitomises why companies are afraid to invest in Russia. Capital flight this year is already $70 billion. Most wealthy Russians keep their money abroad to shield against political retribution if they fall out of favour with Putin or his kleptocratic clique.
    Some say it could go up to 150 billion dollars.

  12. #12
    Exarch's Avatar Comes Rei Militaris
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    there's still a LOT of oil and mineral wealth in Russia that aint going nowhere though; it doesnt matter how much capital flight occurs, Russia has resources and the political will to use those resources

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    Geronimo2006's Avatar TAR Local Moderator
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    The demand for a federalised Ukraine is just a cynical ruse to give Moscow a veto on Ukrainian laws - especially foreign policy.
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Depends on who owns the franchises; this would seem a cash cow for some of the better connected Kremlin inner circle.
    Eats, shoots, and leaves.

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    Geronimo2006's Avatar TAR Local Moderator
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    By the way Burger King in America have denied claims by their Russian franchisee they are moving into Crimea now that McDonald's are fleeing.
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    Imperial's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Exarch View Post
    there's still a LOT of oil and mineral wealth in Russia that aint going nowhere though; it doesnt matter how much capital flight occurs, Russia has resources and the political will to use those resources
    All that "wealth" didn't help them during the soviet era, it ain't going to help them now either.

  17. #17
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Condottiere 40K View Post
    Depends on who owns the franchises; this would seem a cash cow for some of the better connected Kremlin inner circle.
    As the article explains a bit further down (although I didn't share the text here), the last item of the burger not produced in Russia were the buns themselves, but that has recently been taken over by private Russian food companies as well. The ingredients used for McDonald's food in Russia is thus entirely locally-produced. If McDonald's goes down, so do several Russian businesses that rely on supplying this demand.

    Regardless of the stability of the oil and gas industry, I don't see how this is a good thing for the Russian food industry.

  18. #18
    Col. Tartleton's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Why does McDonald's care which Russia controls the Crimea so long as the Turks are kept out... I doubt McDonald's regular fare is Halal and changing the menu would be a pain in the ass.

    I mean if they closed their restaurants due to safety concerns or something fine, but why get involved politically over a basically bloodless annexation. It's not fair to the people of Ukraine... I mean Russia. Now they can't get their Quarter Pounder meal. Who does that benefit? Plus with the public backlash in Russia there will be even more losses in that part of the world. Big shot in the foot. No reasonable person in the US was going to be upset that McDonald's was still serving burgers to the Crimea.
    Last edited by Col. Tartleton; April 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM.
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Good for Russian's health. I was always surprised by how much propaganda we hear about how bad drugs are, yet fast food is perfectly okay and is marketed to children.
    Also I won't be surprised if other fast-food franchise would move in to take McDonald's place, including American ones. Most likely it was the reason behind this decision in the first place.
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  20. #20
    Col. Tartleton's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: McDonald's Under Pressure in Russia

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    Good for Russian's health. I was always surprised by how much propaganda we hear about how bad drugs are, yet fast food is perfectly okay and is marketed to children.
    Also I won't be surprised if other fast-food franchise would move in to take McDonald's place, including American ones. Most likely it was the reason behind this decision in the first place.
    You can't compare doing drugs to eating rich foods.
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