Fast-food giant McDonald’s is temporarily closing 847 restaurants in Russia in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the company announced Tuesday.
The company said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia “who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand.”
But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempckinski said closing those stores for now is the right thing to do.
“Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” Kempczinski said.
He said it's impossible to know when the company will be able to reopen its stores. Of its nearly 850 Russian McDonald's locations, 84 percent are owned by the company, which makes them the easiest to close. The remainder are mostly operated by Moscow-based franchisee Rosinter Restaurants Holding, according to Reuters.
“The situation is extraordinarily challenging for a global brand like ours, and there are many considerations,” Kempczinski wrote in the letter.
The move could impact Denmark-based Espersen, one of the world's largest whitefish processors with operations in Russia.
The company is drawing up contingency plans for any potential bans on seafood trade in the face of Russia’s escalating war in Ukraine, its CEO recently told IntraFish.
McDonald’s has also temporarily closed 108 restaurants in Ukraine and continues to pay those employees, reported the Associated Press.
The restaurant chain could take a big financial hit because of the closures. In a recent regulatory filing, the Chicago-based company said its restaurants in Russia and Ukraine contributed 9 percent of its annual revenue, or around $2 billion (€1.8 billion), the news site added.