What does the new Russian ‘McDonald’s’ taste like? (PHOTOS)

Alexei Filippov/Sputnik
The fast food chain called ‘Tasty - And That’s It’ has taken over McDonald’s facilities, but removed some food items. How did Muscovites like the new hamburgers and will they miss the Big Mac?

On June 12, Russia reopened 15 McDonald’s restaurants under the name: ‘Vkusno - I Tochka’ (“Tasty - And That’s It”). The global company sold their business in the country to the Russian entrepreneur  Alexander Govor (he owns more than 20 McDonald’s franchise restaurants in Siberia). So, many Russians were waiting with great interest to see what new restaurants would look (and taste) like. 

The restaurant in Moscow in 1990 and in June 2022.

And when they finally opened, huge lines gathered at the entrances. The biggest one was at Pushkinskaya Square - in fact, its the exact same site as the first McDonald’s in Russia, which opened in December 1990. And some Russians admitted on social media that it was as if they had gone back in time. Like 32 years ago, the staff welcomed diners with balloons. 

Most of the menu has remained the same, but food items have changed their names. For example, ‘Filet-O-Fish’ is now ‘Fish Burger’, ‘Royal Deluxe’ is now ‘Grand Deluxe’ and ‘McChicken Premiere’ is now ‘Chicken Premiere’. 

Diners can find McDonald’s-style hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, ice cream and milkshakes. All prepared according to the usual recipe and from Russian ingredients, just like before (McDonald’s used 85% local ingredients). “The chickenburger is the same, but the cheeseburger cutlet tastes a bit different,” says Andrey, who tried the new items. “It has less salt in it for my taste.” The bun hasn’t changed, he also noted. 

‘Big Mac’, ‘Big Tasty’ and ‘McFlurry’ have all disappeared from the menu, as they are registered as trademarks and, therefore, cannot be sold by the new chain. This really upset one diner at the Pushkin Square restaurant, who came with a banner that said: “Bring back the Big Mac”. However, other Russians called him an “attention seeker” on social media.

There is also no cold coffee on the menu yet, which is very popular in Russia in the summer, but the chain promised to add it in a couple of weeks when the cafe section reopens. As for other cold drinks, now diners can order Coca-Cola, but it may soon be replaced by either Pepsi or by a Russian brand. 

The ‘Vkusno - I Tochka’ logo, according to the acquisition contract, shouldn’t resemble McDonald’s. Instead, it depicts a red circle and two diagonal orange sticks on a green background - symbolizing a burger and french fries. However, designer Ilya Gimmelfarb thinks it looks like the logo of the Portuguese pet food maker ‘Matos Mix’. 

Russian TV host Ksenia Sobchak didn’t like it either, calling it “depressing” and “monstrous” in her Telegram blog.

“The circle is an orange. The two sticks don’t look like fries, but more like chips. And the logo itself looks like the logo of some delivery service,” describes Alexei on the official public VK account of the company.

The new name, ‘Vkusno - I Tochka’, was also criticized on the Internet. “Our people like to abbreviate and cut names in conversation. I wonder what it will be called: ‘tasty’ or ‘dot’” Anastasia wonders. ‘Tochka’, in this case, can be translated as “the dot” or “that’s it”. 

“It reads: ‘Eat what they give you’,” adds Ekaterina.

But many people think it’s more likely that people will continue to call it ‘Mak’ - this is how most refer to McDonald’s in Russia. 

The main thing the Russians believe, however, is to keep all the jobs in the country, while the naming is secondary. According to the contract, the Russian owner must not lay off any employees - about 60,000 people in total - for two years. 

About 200 ‘Vkusno - I Tochka’ restaurants are to open in other regions by the end of June. Alexander Govor plans to increase the number of restaurants from 850 to 1,000. 

Under the contract, McDonald’s also keeps the right to buy the business back in the next 15 years. Govor did not discuss the amount of the purchase, but called it “small”.  

By the way, McDonald’s copycats can already be found in many Russian regions - read about them here.

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