Russia’s McDonald’s replacement eyes China expansion

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The owner of Vkusno i Tochka says he’s awaiting permission from the former parent company

Russian fast-food chain Vkusno i Tochka has requested approval from its former franchiser, McDonald’s, to open an outlet in the Chinese city of Heihe, TASS has reported.

Vkusno i Tochka (‘Just Tasty’) is a rebranded version of McDonald’s in Russia, created as part of the sale of the US franchise before its exit due to sanctions. It offers essentially the same menu to its customers as the original.

According to the owner of the Russian franchise, Aleksandr Govor, Vkusno i Tochka received a request from the Chinese city situated across the Amur River from the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. 

Under the terms of the agreement between Govor and the US fast-food giant after the latter decided to exit the Russian market, the local group cannot open restaurants of the rebranded chain in countries where McDonald’s operates. 

According to Govor, McDonald’s supply logistics do not reach the Chinese backcountry region, which has a restaurant shortage.

“We have sent a request to the US corporation,” he told the agency. “If they allow it, we will do it with pleasure, we will open as many as ten outlets even tomorrow.” 

If the request is approved, the expansion could also include Belarus and Abkhazia, according to Govor. He explained that Vkusno i Tochka had received requests to open outlets from several countries. 

The US fast-food giant announced plans to sell its business in Russia in May 2022 due to intense international pressure after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine. McDonald’s sold its 800 restaurants in Russia to Govor, the company’s local licensee, who renamed the food chain Vkusno i Tochka. 

Govor had previously operated 25 restaurants of the US chain in Siberia. The deal value hasn’t been disclosed, but the new owner said that the amount was much lower than the market price. Under the deal, McDonald’s has the right to buy back its restaurants in Russia within 15 years.

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