McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks are shutting their restaurants and cafes in Russia, and Coca-Cola is suspending its operations there in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. PepsiCo is also pulling some products from the country and
“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market,” CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement this week.
There were 847 locations of McDonald’s in Russia at the close of last year, according to an investor document.
Globally, most McDonald’s locations are operated by franchise operators. But that’s not the case in Russia, where 84% of locations are operated by the company, according to the document. Russia’s restaurants, along with another 108 in Ukraine, all operated by McDonald’s, accounted for 9% of the company’s revenue in 2021, according to the document.
“In Russia, we employ 62,000 people who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand to serve their communities. We work with hundreds of local, Russian suppliers and partners who produce the food for our menu and support our brand,” Kempczinski said. “And we serve millions of Russian customers each day who count on McDonald’s. In the thirty-plus years that McDonald’s has operated in Russia, we’ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate.”
But, he added, “at the same time, our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”
KFC & Pizza Hut
Yum Brands (YUM), which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and the Habit Grill, said in a statement that it “has suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia.”
The company added that it will “redirect all profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts,” in addition to making donations to the Red Cross through the Yum Brands Foundation. Yum has about 1,000 KFC restaurants and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia. The company said that most of these are operated by independent owners.
However, with the ambiguous wording, the company did not comment on whether it wanted to limit or stop current restaurant operations in Russia.
In a Tuesday message to employees, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that “today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia.”
The announcements followed pressure from critics who called for the companies to leave Russia. Several Western companies across multiple industries have halted operations in Russia after the country’s attack on Ukraine, yet some restaurants are continuing to sell their products in the country. For some restaurant chains, that may be because locations are operated by franchises, giving corporate owners less control.
On Twitter, people used boycott hashtags to target companies like McDonald’s and PepsiCo that until today were quiet about their plans for Russia.
McDonald’s, PepsiCo and other companies were called out by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Before McDonald’s made its announcement, DiNapoli emailed a number of companies represented in the New York State Common Retirement Fund, including PepsiCo and McDonald’s, urging them to stop doing business with Russia.
“Companies like McDonald’s and PepsiCo, which have a large footprint in Russia, need to consider whether doing business in Russia is worth the risk during this extraordinarily volatile time,” DiNaPoli said in a statement.