Burger King Eyes Crimea Market as McDonald’s Closes Restaurants

NOVOSIBIRSK, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – Fast-food giant Burger King has announced plans to open new restaurants in Russia, including in the country’s new region of Crimea, a week after its long-term rival McDonald’s suspended operations on the Black Sea peninsula, Russian media reports said Wednesday.

McDonald’s subsidiary in Ukraine said last week that it would close three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta for “operational reasons.” A spokesperson for the giant said there was no political reason behind the move to leave the region, which reunified with Russia following a referendum in mid-March.

Burger King Russia Director Dmitry Medovy said the company, the world’s second largest hamburger chain in terms of outlets, plans to open 100 new restaurants in Russia, bringing the total number to 300 in the country.

“We are planning entry to Crimea, but I cannot say when this will happen,” Medovy said, without providing further details. There are currently no Burger King restaurants in Crimea, home to some 2 million people.

Medovy said Burger King has entered an “active phase” of searching for new restaurants in the country. The company opened its 200th Russian restaurant in Novosibirsk and plans to launch its first restaurant in the Far East later this year.

Ukraine was the 102nd external market for McDonald’s. The first outlet of the chain opened in Kiev in May 1997, and the company now has 79 restaurants in 23 cities across Ukraine.

Burger King, founded in 1954 in the United States, has more than 13,000 restaurants in 86 countries, 200 of them in Russia. Burger King Russia was established in 2012.

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