Not the Golden Arches (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)
McDowell’s vibes… but this isn’t a “Coming to America” tale of Big Macs vs. Big Micks. Former McDonald’s locations in Russia are reopening under different owners — with the same ketchup packets. Quick refresher: McDonald’s closed its 840 Russian restaurants in May in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, and later sold them to a Siberian oil mogul. Last weekend, after a quick-and-dirty rebrand, they began reopening:
The Calorie Curtain has some holes… American food behemoths like McDonald’s and Starbucks stopped selling Big Macs and Venti Lattes in Russia months ago (the #CalorieCurtain), joining Western peers like Disney, Apple, and Shell. But Russia’s economy hasn’t been crushed by the corporate exodus:
A knockoff economy is emerging… but it’s easier to replace burgers than computer chips. Corporate departures and sanctions haven’t caused Russia’s economy to shut down. Yet they’re forcing Russia to rebuild itself with fewer trade partners and many missing pieces. Long term, sanctions could have a more dire effect: Putin still hasn’t found replacements for key components, like microchips, and Europe’s looming oil ban will likely hit Russia’s coffers.