McDonald’s today announced it would temporarily close all of its restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market, following increased pressure to take a stand as the war in Ukraine worsens. It is “impossible to predict,” when they would reopen, CEO Chris Kempczinski said.
“We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia. This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia,” Kempczinski said in a statement.
There are 847 McDonald’s stores in Russia, 84% of which are company-operated, in addition to 108 company-operated restaurants in Ukraine. Business in both countries amounted to about 2% of system-wide sales last year, generating 9% of total corporate revenue, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
Last week, McDonald’s leaders in Ukraine announced a $5 million donation to an Employee Assistance Fund and said they would support relief efforts led by the International Red Cross in the region.
Fund managers, rating agencies, news outlets and consumers have been pressuring McDonald’s to take action in Russia following Russia’s Feb. 20 invasion. As global U.S.-based businesses like Boeing, Procter & Gamble and Twitter announced plans to withdraw their investment and support, McDonald’s was conspicuous by its silence.