On February 24th, Russia launched a coordinated attack on the country of Ukraine. The attack is the latest in a long and complex history between the two countries, which involves on-going conflict dating back to 1922. In an effort to impede Russia’s invasion, the western world has banded together. News reports that the Russian economy is taking a hit due to sanctions being imposed, but signs of cease fire have yet to show.
Social media has helped to raise worldwide awareness of the Ukrainian plight and inspire many to support. From individuals with small platforms to major outlets, everyone is standing with Ukraine. Aside from sanctions, food is another industry taking a hit in Russia as many major chains have chosen to halt local operations. Below I’ve compiled a list of fast food chains that have suspended operations in Russia.
The godfather of all fast food chains, McDonald’s, just announced that they are temporarily closing their 850 locations in Russia. This is particularly significant due to McDonald’s being one of the longest running western fast food chains in the country, first opening in 1990. Unlike here in the states where most McDonald’s are franchises, in Russia, 84% are owned by McDonalds. With an employee-base of 62,000, the decision to halt operations dealt a major blow.
With 130 licensed locations in Russia and Ukraine, Starbucks has become somewhat of a staple. Following McDonald’s announcement to temporarily suspend operations, they joined in solidarity. While a cease fire is uncertain, Starbucks will continue to provide support for their employees through the suspension period.
KFC, Taco Bell & Pizza Hut
Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut has also decided to shut down their operations. In Russia, there’s over 1,000 KFC locations and 50 Pizza Huts. Previously, the company had been opening 100 new KFC locations each year. This drastic shift is sure to be felt in Russia’s belly.
Well known and loved worldwide, Papa Johns has 186 locations in Russia, or 8% of all the chain's restaurants. Condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine, they’ve also decided to stop all operational, marketing and business support to the Russian market.
The latest fast food chain joining in protest against Russia’s actions is Panda Express. They’ve chosen to not only cease current business operations in the country, but future plans as well. To show further support, they’re partnering with the Red Cross to provide essential aid to Ukrainian refugees with a pledge of up to $2 million through the Panda Cares Foundation fundraising program and a dollar-for-dollar corporate match.
In addition to fast food, beverage giants Coca Cola and Pepsi have both halted operations in Russia. They’re joined by a broad range of companies unifying in defiance of Russia’s actions and in support of the Ukrainian people.
While talks of cease fire have unfortunately stalled, we all wait in hope that this war reaches a peaceful end.