ALMATY/JAN. 4 2023 (The Bulletin) — McDonald’s quit Kazakhstan altogether because meat supplies from Russia have been dropped since the West imposed heavy sanctions after the Kremlin invaded Ukraine.
The announcement represents a change in policy for McDonald’s which had said in November that it had only closed its Kazakh restaurants temporarily. It also sparked speculation that Russia’s Vkusno i Tochka would take over its restaurants.
Workers have already taken down signs above former McDonald’s restaurants across the country and the McDonald’s website in Kazakhstan and its social media sites have been closed.
Food Solutions KZ, the company that owns the McDonald’s franchise in Kazakhstan, said that it had closed McDonald’s, which employs 2,000 people in Kazakhstan, because it couldn’t source the beef patties used in its burgers from Russia.
“Our task now is to resume the operation of restaurants under a new brand,” said Asset Mashanov, the McDonald’s Kazakhstan managing director.
The Kazakh authorities, increasingly anti-Russian in their outlook, have already said that Russia’s version of McDonald’s, Vkusno i Tochka, will not be allowed to set up.
Even so, the Russian owners of the brand have said that they have registered the brand as a trademark in Kazakhstan. This would be Vkusno i Tochka’s first overseas expansion.
— This story was published in issue 532 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on Jan. 16 2023
— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2023