McDonald’s, citing “unnecessary human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” announced Tuesday that it will temporarily close 850 locations in Russia.
The decision came nearly two weeks after Russian forces invaded its former Soviet neighbor.
CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote in a letter to franchisees and employees that the chain will stop all operations in Russia. However, it will continue to pay its 62,000 Russian employees, and its Ronald McDonald House charities will continue to operate.
In recent days, the fast-food giant has come under fire for keeping quiet about the war, given its relatively large presence in Russia.
McDonald’s restaurants in Russia and Ukraine account for 2% of system-wide sales, approximately 9% of revenue, and 3% of operating income.
McDonald’s has also long played a symbolic role in Russia. The chain opened its first store in the Soviet Union 32 years ago in Moscow, months before the collapse of the state.
About 84% of McDonald’s Russian locations are owned by the company, while the rest are operated by franchisees. Owning more of its restaurants generates more revenue for the company, but exposes it to greater risk in times of economic turbulence or downturn.
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