After closing its restaurants in Ukraine six months ago because of the Russian invasion, McDonald’s is starting to reopen in parts of the country.
“We have decided to institute a phased plan to reopen some restaurants in Kyiv and western Ukraine,” Paul Pomroy, corporate senior vice president of international operated markets, wrote in a letter posted to the company’s website Thursday.
McDonald’s has nearly 110 restaurants in Ukraine. The chain has continued to pay its employees in the country despite the closures.
“Over the next few months, we will begin working with suppliers to get product to restaurants, making the physical properties ready to serve customers, bringing restaurant teams and employees back on site, and implementing enhanced procedures and protocols to support the safety of our people and customers,” Pomroy said.
The decision was made after speaking with Ukrainian officials, security specialists and suppliers, he added.
McDonald’s was one of several global companies that paused operations in Ukraine due to the deadly conflict. In his letter, Pomroy noted that other businesses have also reopened in Kyiv and western Ukraine.
The war prompted McDonald’s to permanently close its Russian restaurants. The chain announced it was pausing its Russia operations in March. In May, the company said it would sell its Russian restaurants, saying at the time that the “humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.” The company has no plans to re-enter that market.
The company sold its hundreds of Russian locations to a local franchise operator, who has started to reopen them with a new name, “Vkusno & Tochka,” which in English means “tasty and that’s it,” along with new branding.
McDonald’s exit from Russia marked the end of an era. The chain opened its first location in Moscow in 1990, and is perhaps the most prominent example of glasnost, former president Mikhail Gorbechev’s initiative to break down the barrier between the old Soviet Union and the rest of the world.