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McDonald’s move to reopen in western Ukraine signals restored business confidence

August 14, 2022
Consumer Packaged Goods

After half a year without the golden arches serving its classic Big Macs, McDonald’s has decided to reopen its business in war-torn Ukraine, where it had over 100 restaurants and 10,000 employees before the war started.

The company has kept paying the salaries of its Ukraine employees since it initially stopped operations in February.

“After extensive consultation and discussion with Ukrainian officials, suppliers and security specialists, and in consideration of our employees’ request to return to work, we have decided to institute a phased plan to reopen some restaurants in Kyiv and western Ukraine, where other businesses have safely reopened,” says Paul Pomroy senior VP at McDonald’s.

“Over the next few months, we will begin working with suppliers to get product to restaurants, making the physical properties ready to serve customers, bringing restaurant teams and employees back on site, and implementing enhanced procedures and protocols to support the safety of our people and customers,” he continues.

The five questions
McDonald’s executives asked themselves five questions when considering to reopen or not its business in Ukraine: “Are we legally allowed to operate in the country? Do we have the freedom to operate the business and meet the needs of our customers and crew unimpeded? Is our presence in the market brand-enhancing to our global operations? Does it make good business sense? Does it align with our values?”

In a similar manner, McDonald’s closed its operations in Russia after its CEO, Chris Kempczinski, announced that the answers to all the same questions for its business in Russia were “currently no.”

The conflict situation in Ukraine led the US-based fast food chain to sell its Russian restaurants, after a 32-year stay that began as a symbol of the end of the Cold War.

Normal business
McDonald’s, which has over 39,000 restaurants worldwide, wants to try to restore business confidence in the country.

“In recent months, the belief that this would support a small but important sense of normalcy has grown stronger. And Ukrainian officials have advised that businesses resuming operations will support the local economy and the Ukrainian people,” highlights Pomroy.

The National Bank of Ukraine expects the country’s economy to shrink by a third this year, according to its latest July estimate.

With this latest move to restore some sense of normalcy, McDonald’s will join KFC, which remains open in Kyiv.

By Marc Cervera


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