McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks have confirmed they are suspending operations in Russia after coming under intense pressure to follow other western organisations in opposing the war on Ukraine.
McDonald’s runs some 850 stores in Russia and has operated in the country for more than 30 years. It works with hundreds of local suppliers and partners which produce the food for its menu and support the brand.
CEO Chris Kempczinski described the situation as “extraordinarily challenging” for a global brand like McDonald’s and said there were “many considerations” to take into account.
However, he said the company’s values meant it could not ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine and it took inspiration from its influential former CEO Fred Turner’s guiding principle of ‘do the right thing’.
“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market,” he confirmed.
“We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia. This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia.”
McDonald’s is also continuing to pay full salaries for its Ukrainian staff and has donated $5m to its Employee Assistance Fund.
Moving forward, Mr Kempczinski said McDonald’s would continue to assess the situation and determine if any additional measures are required.
“At this juncture, it’s impossible to predict when we might be able to reopen our restaurants in Russia. We are experiencing disruptions to our supply chain along with other operational impacts. We will also closely monitor the humanitarian situation,” he said.
Elsewhere, Yum! Brands announced that it is suspending operations of KFC company-owned restaurants in Russia.
It is also finalising an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia, in partnership with its master franchisee.
“This action builds on our decision to suspend all investment and restaurant development in Russia and redirect all profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts,” the company said in a statement.
Coffee chain Starbucks said last week that it “condemns the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia” and, in an update yesterday, CEO Kevin Johnson, confirmed that it has now suspended all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products.
“Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood,” he said.
“Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency.”