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In Russia, the McDonald’s “Vkousno i totchka” version is always full in a country “cut off from the world”

If there was any doubt, it was cleared up before you even walked through the door. Leaving the crowded restaurant, a young man shouts into his phone: “I was at Mak, here I come! » We who thought we were visiting “Vkousno i totchka”, the latest Russian fast-food restaurant, which in a few weeks filled the void left by the departure of the American firm McDonalds, here we are relegated to the good old days of “Mak”, the equivalent in spoken language of our “McDo”…

Either the graft hasn’t taken yet, or the two signs are so similar that it’s hard to notice the change. A look at the control terminals seems to confirm the second hypothesis. Here, they sell “cheeseburgers”, “fish burgers”, nuggets, “caramel ice cream” – exact copies of the products sold in McDonald’s around the world. The worldin his infiltration mission, will opt for the “Grand Deluxe” menu, a rather explicit reminder of the American “Royal Deluxe”.

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There is so little change of scenery that, on the packaging of the ketchup and barbecue sauces, you can still see the emblematic yellow “M” in the corner, summarily covered in black marker. From which we draw two conclusions: the sauces date from the beginning of March, when McDonald’s announced that it was suspending its activities in Russia, as a result of the conflict triggered by Moscow in Ukraine; the Siberian businessman Alexandre Govor did not go into detail when he bought the brand, placing restaurants, employees (60,000), equipment and even stocks that remained in the kitchen under his banner.

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The details of the negotiation are not known, but there is little doubt that it was done to the advantage of the Russian. McDonald’s confirmed its final departure in mid-May, finding itself, like many Western companies in the same situation, with little room for maneuver to save its investments. Mr. Govor was the quickest to line up. This entrepreneur from Novokuznetsk (Western Siberia), who came from coal and was active in service stations as well as medical centers, already owned twenty-five McDonald’s franchises.

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He is now the owner of 700 Vkousno i totchka restaurants, out of the 850 brands that McDonald’s had in Russia. About a hundred have already opened their doors, mainly in the Moscow region. At the same time, some franchisees are resisting by continuing to operate, illegally, under the “M” brand.

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