Russia’s rebranded McDonald’s may expand into Kazakhstan after McDonald’s reportedly banned its restaurants there from selling Russian meat, forcing them to close

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The Russian version of McDonald’s could be heading to Kazakhstan after applying for a trademark there, Reuters reported.

Alexander Govor, a Russian businessperson, bought Russia’s closed McDonald’s restaurants in May and rebranded them as Vkusno & Tochka, which translates as “tasty and that’s it.”

McDonald’s had announced it was quitting the market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying continued ownership of its more than 800 restaurants was “no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.”

Starbucks, KFC, and Pizza Hut have all followed suit, with some of their restaurants being taken over by companies launching new brand with big similarities to their departed peers, like Stars Coffee.

McDonald’s shuttered its 24 Kazakh restaurants in November and Food Solutions KZ, its franchisee in the central Asian country, announced their permanent closure earlier this month, citing supply shortages.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the burger giant had banned Food Solutions from buying products from Russia, which borders on Kazakhstan. The sources said that the company had been unable to find a profitable substitute for Russian meat supplies.

McDonald’s confirmed to Insider that its contract with Food Solutions had been terminated.

“The licensee in Kazakhstan will stop operating as McDonald’s and the restaurants will no longer carry the McDonald’s name or serve our menu. The licensee is working to transition all 24 restaurants, including employees, to a new brand,” a statement sent to Insider read.

Food Solutions’s website tells customers to expect something “soon.”

Both Reuters and Russian state outlet RIA Novosti reported that Vkusno & Tochka had applied for trademarks in Kazakhstan, which has a population of around 19 million.

Kazakh news outlet Tengrinews, however, reported that Food Solutions’ director said the company didn’t plan to rebrand its restaurants as Vkusno & tochka.

Vkusno & Tochka opened its first restaurants in June and said that in its first six months of operation in Russia it had sold more than 215 million burgers and 90 million servings of fries.

Its menu includes some items similar to what McDonald’s offers, including beef, chicken, and fish burgers, nuggets, breakfast muffins, and milkshakes.

Its owner has said it isn’t allowed to use any McDonald’s branding, like the name, colors, and Golden Arches. The chain said in December, however, that it was working on a substitute for McDonald’s trademark Big Mac.

Source: Business Insider