The fast reopening of rebranded McDonald’s restaurants in Russia has reportedly prompted local management to take some shortcuts.
Workers at a restaurant location in Moscow’s Pushkin Square covered up McDonald’s famous “golden arches” logo on packages of ketchup and other sauces that were served to customers, Reuters reported.
Black markings used to block the logo appeared to be visible in photos of food trays — including one AFP image published by Business Insider.
The repurposed sauce packets weren’t the only sign of rapid turnover under the restaurants’ new owners. Staple items such as burgers, fries and drinks were reportedly served in plain white packaging, while customers who ordered their food to go were given their owners in brown paper bags.
McDonald’s stores around Moscow reopened on Sunday under the new name “Vkusno & tochka,” which translates to “Tasty and That’s it.” The restaurants are also using a new logo and branding following McDonald’s exit from Russian in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
“The name changes, love stays,” a slogan outside the Pushkin Square location read, according to Reuters.
The stores are offering a less extensive menu than they did under US management – with items such as the Big Mac and McFlurry nowhere to be found. The Wall Street Journal published photos of basic menu items, such as burgers, chicken nuggets and fried shrimp, offered to sparsely decorated packaging.
McDonald’s sold its Russian restaurants to Alexander Govor, who became a local licensee in 2015 and already operated 25 locations in Siberia. New management has already reopened about 15 locations around Moscow and plans to relaunch all 850 stores by the end of summer.
In an interview with Reuters, Govor confirmed that his chain could not make any reference to McDonald’s in its restaurants.
“The Big Mac is the story of McDonald’s. We will definitely do something similar,” he said. “We will try to do something even better so that our visitors and guests like this dish.”
When announcing its plans to sell local restaurants and exit Russia in May, McDonald’s said it would take steps to protect its intellectual property. The statement followed efforts by Russian authorities to unwind trademark and patent protections in retaliation against companies who fled the country.
“The Company intends to initiate the process of “de-Arching” those restaurants, which entails no longer using the McDonald’s name, logo, branding, and menu, though the Company will continue to retain its trademarks in Russia,” McDonald’s said in a statement at the time.