McDonald’s, Starbucks close Russian stores over Ukraine invasion

In 1990, when McDonald’s opened its first Russian location in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, thousands swarmed the Golden Arches, eager to taste the “Bolshoi Mak” and U.S. culture. But 32 years later, with Russia invading Ukraine and pressure mounting on companies to halt operations in Russia, McDonald’s has temporarily closed the historic location, along with all of their 846 others in the country, Reuters reports. International experts hailed this move (one that’s estimated to cost McDonald’s roughly $50 million per month) as influential for other businesses mulling their ties to Russia; indeed, shortly after McDonald’s went public, several other food companies like Starbucks and Coca-Cola announced that they too would suspend operations in the country on moral principles. But franchise experts warned that not every fast-food chain is likely to follow suit so easily. McDonald’s owns 84 percent of all of its locations in Russia, giving it greater control over closures. But many Russian locations of fast-food chains like Burger King and KFC are run by independent operators through international franchise agreements, limiting the companies’ say on these stores’ operations. —Matthew Sedacca

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