McDonald's reopens in Ukraine

McDonald's wants to reopen some restaurants in the west of Ukraine and in the capital Kiev.
McDonald's wants to reopen some restaurants in the west of Ukraine and in the capital Kiev.

With the beginning of the Russian invasion, McDonald's had closed all 109 restaurants in Ukraine. Now the company has announced it will reopen some units in the west of the country and the capital, Kiev.

After consultations with official authorities, suppliers and security specialists, McDonald's has decided that it could reopen in some regions of Ukraine. It is still unclear how many units the company will reopen and when.

McDonald's has continued to pay its 10,000 employees in Ukraine since the invasion and has organized disaster relief in the country through the Ronald McDonald House Foundations. Paul Pomroy, SVP of McDonald's International reports that employees in Ukraine have expressed a desire to reopen the restaurants and return to work. For people, he says, it's a chance to get out of the months-long state of siege and back to some semblance of normalcy.

Support from Ukraine

"The belief that this would contribute to a small but important normalcy has grown in recent months," Pomroy said in an internal message. "Ukrainian officials have also advised us that resuming business will support the local economy and the Ukrainian people."

Over the next few months, the company needs to work out with suppliers how it will get products to restaurants, he said. The company is also working on improved safety procedures, he added.

Reactions from the country

Political leaders in Kiev reacted promptly to the news. The head of the president's office, Andriy Yermak, posted French fry and hamburger emojis on Twitter - along with a Ukrainian flag.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the reopening plan a "political decision." Millions of Ukrainians had been longing for Big Macs, the 41-year-old wrote on Facebook. Beyond that, it's an important signal to the international business community, Kuleba added: "These are jobs and taxes for the Ukrainian budget
, the survival of our economy in times of Russian aggression."

Russia Exit

In response to the war, McDonald's had also sold all of its 850 stores in Russia. These have since been sold to a Siberian entrepreneur who has reopened them under a new name.