Where Crimeans used to chomp down on Big Macs, they will soon be able to order a Czar Cheeseburger as Russian chain Rusburger opens in a former McDonald’s Corp. outlet in the annexed peninsula.
RusBurger plans to open this month on the site in Sevastopol’s Prospekt Nakhimova street, Georgy Aslanyan, the company’s head of development, said by phone. He declined to disclose whether RusBurger will replace two other restaurants that McDonald’s had in Crimea, saying only that RusBurger plans to further expand its network in the region.
McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food chain, pulled out of Crimea in April after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex the region from Ukraine. Russia is struggling to steady its $2 trillion economy after the annexation led the U.S. and European Union to impose sanctions on individuals and companies, exacerbating an economic slump.
RusBurger is a small chain of a dozen restaurants that promotes itself as selling the “Taste of Russia.” Instead of a Big Mac, it offers Czar cheeseburgers and Bogatyr, a sandwich named after hero warriors of ancient Russia. Instead of cola, RusBurger serves local pear lemonade.
“Unlike western fast-food chains that offer prepacked surrogates, RusBurger has made a bet on fresh Russian beef and vegetables,” the company says in a presentation on its website. “Consumers are tired of tastelessness and are missing the taste of Russia. Ours is better.”
McDonald’s has no information on the lease holder’s plan for the premises, the company’s Ukraine office said in an e-mailed statement. The U.S. restaurant company cited supply problems when closing its Crimean outlets in April.