Ukraine war

Starbucks turns its back on Russia

Starbucks in Moscow: closed since March.
Starbucks in Moscow: closed since March.

Starbucks existed in Russia for around 15 years. Because of the Ukraine war, the U.S. company is now ending all activity in the country. Operations had already been suspended since March in protest against the Russian attack on Ukraine.

The group announced it would permanently close its stores in the country and abandon its brand presence there. Starbucks has been present in Russia since 2007 and most recently had around 130 stores there with about 2,000 employees. According to Starbucks, the stores are operated by licensee Coffee Siren.

Operations suspended since March

Starbucks had already suspended operations in Russia on March 8. This includes stopping the delivery of Starbucks products. Proceeds from the Russian business were donated to Ukraine aid. This was announced by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a letter to the Russian partners.

Starbucks says it will continue to pay employees for six months and support them in their search for new jobs. The company did not initially provide any information on the specific timetable and process of the withdrawal from Russia or on the financial details.

About a week ago, McDonald's announced its intention to withdraw from Russia. One day later, the group announced the sale of all its restaurants to a former Russian partner.

Yum! Brands communicated through its homepage at the beginning of the Ukraine war: "Yum! Brands is ceasing operations of company-owned KFC restaurants in Russia and entering into an agreement to cease all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia in cooperation with its master franchisee."

Burger King was quick to declare that withdrawal from the Russian market would not be without hurdles for franchises: "Would we like to suspend all Burger King operations in Russia immediately? Yes," group CEO David Shear wrote in an open letter. "Can we enforce a halt to operations today? No." The reason that the 800 or so stores would remain open, he said, was because of franchise partners controlled by businessman Alexander Kolobov. RBI holds only a 15 percent stake in the joint venture in Russia.