- Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants opened on Sunday with a new name – Vkusno & tochka.
- The chain’s hurried rebranding means it’s seemingly still using the same sauce packets.
- Photos from the rebranded sites show sauce packets with the McDonald’s logo scribbled out with pen.
Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants reopened Sunday with a new name, logo, and menu, but the same sauce packets.
Staff at the rebranded fast-food chain scribbled out the McDonald’s logo on sauce packets with black pen, Reuters reported, with an image from the Agence France-Presse seemingly confirming this.
Vkusno & tochka, which Reuters translated as “tasty and that’s it,” opened 15 stores in and around Moscow on Sunday, including what was formerly McDonald’s flagship Russian restaurant in the city’s Pushkin Square.
Alexander Govor, a Russian businessperson, bought Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants after the burger giant said that continued ownership was “no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The hurried rebranding shows how Govor has tried to strike a balance between operating restaurants that will satisfy customers as a substitute for McDonald’s and not violating the company’s trademarks.
“We don’t have the right to use some colors, we don’t have the right to use the golden arches, we don’t have the right to use any mention of McDonald’s,” Govor told Reuters.
The huge lines of people waiting to get burgers in the days before Russian McDonald’s restaurants closed and the hefty price tags for its products on classified-ads sites showed the scale of its bulging Russian market. By clinging on to aspects of McDonald’s menu, branding, and store design, whenever possible, Vkusno & tochka can try win over loyal customers.
The famous golden arches have been scrapped, and Vkusno & tochka has a new logo made up of just one dot and two lines — or a burger and two fries — which appear in the shape of a large “M.”
Oleg Paroev, who was named as the CEO of McDonald’s Russia in February, and who has continued his role as CEO of Vkusno & tochka, said the restaurant interiors would remain the same but all traces of the McDonald’s name would be removed, Reuters reported.
Photos published by The Wall Street Journal show menu items similar to what McDonald’s sells — including chicken nuggets, fish burgers, and fruit pies — but with different packaging.
Reuters reported that the chain largely used plain white packaging for fries and burgers, plain white drink cups, and plain brown paper takeaway bags. This is also evident in some of the photos of products on Vkusno & tochka’s website.
Though some dishes look familiar, Vkusno & tochka has no plans to sell Big Macs and McFlurrys.
“These names, these brands, their appearance and production technology” are too directly related to McDonald’s, Paroev said, according to The Journal.
Some other menu items aren’t available because of logistical difficulties, and trade restrictions mean dishes will likely change, Paroev said. This includes Coca-Cola’s decision to suspend sales in Russia, which has left Vkusno & tochka looking for new soft-drink suppliers, Reuters reported.
The chain sources 98% of its ingredients from within Russia, Paroev told Reuters.
The burgers that are on sale contain the same ingredients and are made with the same equipment as when McDonald’s operated the restaurants, Alexander Merkulov, the company’s quality manager, said, according to Reuters.
“Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience,” Paroev said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
He said that Vkusno & tochka planned to reopen all McDonald’s former Russian restaurants by the end of the summer, with 200 reopening by the end of June.