Russia's new McDonald's runs out of French fries until autumn

'Tasty and that's it' has been hit by supply chain problems amid the conflict with Ukraine

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Russia's replacement McDonald's restaurants have run out of French fries, its new owners said.

The US fast-food company pulled out of Russia in May, after closing all of its restaurants in the country in March in protest against the war in Ukraine.

A number of them reopened last month under the ownership of Vkusno & tochka, which translates into "Tasty and that's it".

However, after initial big queues, the restaurant chain has run into problems with sourcing potatoes due to supply chain disruption amid the conflict with Ukraine and western sanctions.

French fries will return to the menu in autumn at the start of the new harvest, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

Vkusno & tochka said that country-style potatoes, a thicker version, may also not be available, blaming 2021 as a lean year for potato varieties.

For the past eight years, the company had focused on Russian suppliers, it said. It had become impossible to import from markets that could become temporary suppliers of potatoes for enterprises in Russia, it said.

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture, however, denied there was a potato shortage.

The market is "fully provided" and products of a new crop are already arriving, eliminating the possibility of a shortage, the ministry said in a Telegram statement, which added that it expects an increase in the harvest of potatoes this year.

McDonald's employed 62,000 people in Russia and most were kept on for the new venture led by Siberian businessman Alexander Govor.

The new outlets, sporting a fresh logo, offer burgers and fries, which some said tasted and appeared much the same as they did under the McDonald's branding.

Vkusno & tochka did not have the right to use any mention of McDonald's, Mr Govor told Reuters last month.

"The Big Mac is the story of McDonald's," he said. "We will definitely do something similar. We will try to do something even better so that our visitors and guests like this dish."

The company was planning to reopen 200 restaurants in Russia by the end of June — and all 850 by the end of the summer.

Other US brands to exit Russia include Starbucks, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, as they sought to comply with sanctions and deal with threats from the Kremlin that foreign-owned assets may be seized.

Updated: July 11, 2022, 10:05 AM
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