The first rebranded McDonald's in Russia, which opened June 12 in Moscow, is named Vkusno i tochka.
A reporter visited the restaurant in Moscow and said it didn't smell like a traditional McDonald's.
The reporter said the cola lacked the sugar found in Coke, which will soon be unavailable in Russia.
A Russian reporter from a popular YouTube channel went to the rebranded McDonald's in Moscow, which opened on June 12, and said the smell and the food were different.
McDonald's was among the American chains that closed operations in Russia amid the war with Ukraine. The fast-food chain, which operated in Russia for 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, sold its business in Russia to Alexander Govor, who ran 25 McDonald's restaurants in Siberia. The rebranded restaurants are called Vkusno i tochka, which translates to "Tasty and that's it," according to Reuters.
In a YouTube video from the Russian channel Redaktsia, a reporter met with this restaurant's owner, Alexander Sysoev, to try Vkusno i tochka. (Redaktsia, which means "editorial office" in Russian, was created by Alexey Pivovarov, a TV host who is also the editor in chief of RTVI, a privately owned television network.)
As soon as she walks in, the Redaktsia reporter says the smell inside the restaurant is not like the traditional smell of a McDonald's. At a table of younger women, the reporter asks how the food is and whether it's changed from the McDonald's food. One of them tells the reporter that the chicken tastes better but that that may be because she hadn't had it in about three months.
The reporter, who accidentally asks Sysoev if it's his first time eating at "McDonald's," instead of calling it Vkusno i tochka, says the food packaging is different from the original packaging. The reporter has a "grande" burger, rebranded from the McDonald's royal cheeseburger, as well as nuggets and fries.
When the reporter and Sysoev go for the sweet-and-sour sauce, they realize the McDonald's logo has been marked out with a black marker. The Reuters report said the logo was marked out on other sauce packets too.
Sysoev tells the reporter the fries "are the same, at least visually."
Andrea Palasciano visited Vkusno i tochka for Insider, and said the fries were "a bit sadder, less salty and crispy" than she expected.
Vladislav Solomatov, the head of quality control for the restaurant, says the potatoes for the fries are grown in Russia and processed in Lipetsk Oblast.
Vkusno i tochka's CEO, Oleg Paroev, says the restaurant gets most of its produce from Russian suppliers but that some ingredients come from other countries. He said a lot of beef is imported from other countries, like Uruguay and Paraguay, because Russia doesn't have enough beef.
The buns, which used to be made with lecithin starch imported from the US, also are different. Paroev says the buns at Vkusno i tochka are made from flour and water and don't have the same crunchiness without the lecithin starch.
When the reporter and Sysoev try the cola, the reporter says other people have told her it tastes "strange." Sysoev says it's less carbonated and similar to Coke Zero, the version of Coke without sugar.
Alina Didkovskaya, who manages McDonald's Telegram, said that Coke would not be available in Russia for much longer and that restaurants are depending on leftovers before having to find an alternative.
Vkusno i tochka says it plans to reopen another 200 restaurants by the end of June. McDonald's previously had 850 restaurants throughout Russia. The restaurant chain also has an option to buy back its Russian restaurants within 15 years.
Translations by Nikita Angarski.
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