Monday, February 08, 2010

McDonald's Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Russia

In recent days, McDonald's celebrated 20 years in Russia. Yes, beloved komrades, it's true. On January 31, 1990, when Moscow's first McDonald's opened and 35,000 customers were served, all company records for an opening day were broken. I'm just thinking, that's a whole lot of Welcome-to-McDonald's-ing and smiling in a culture where such is generally reserved for those near and dear.

As the video mentions, twenty years ago, a trip to McDonald's was more than a burger and fries. It was a trip out of the then-USSR. McDonald's offered a taste of freedom and travel to the west without the hassle of a visa.

Across Russia, there are now 230-some McDonald's, three of them right here in Rostov-on-Don. I could eat at McDonald's once a week if I allowed myself, especially when the menu includes these great new burgers.

In time for the 20th anniversary, the Beef a la Rus with bacon was introduced. Oh it's delicious. The country-style fries pictured there have long been standard on the menu, an option to the regular French fries. Thing is, these burgers are already old news in these parts. Mickey D's has already moved on to a Big Mac redesigned for the Winter Olympics, another subject entirely. . .

Because you have the right to know, here's a zoom-in the placemat: Twenty years in Russia.

Here's the box top. Brought that home with me so you could see for yourself. It says, New for the season! (Or maybe, The season's new thing!) Beef a-la Rus with Bacon.

The audio on this video is in English, so I'm not sure who would be the intended audience. It's a little saccharine anyway, but the video makes it worth watching. Besides, I'm okay with saccharine. How about you?

How about you, dear Blog Reader? Have you eaten at a McDonald's overseas? How was it alike or different? Or any other American chain overseas?


Anonymous said...

When we were in Rostov this past summer, my husband and I were so excited to eat in McDonalds. We ordered Big Macs and fries, by pointing at the pictures, since we spoke little to no Russian.

The Big Mac was a little "drier" than the U.S.A., but we were so hungry, that we barely noticed!
I hear that there is now a Subway restaurant, as well near IKEA.
I wonder how that compares.

I have also eaten at McDonalds in Aruba. It was pretty much the same at the U.S.A.

Jeanette said...

The Mickey-D's in Samara, Russia is always packed with people. I tried one of their green salads...and was, frankly...underwhelmed. However, their restroom is a welcome respite from the other so-called public facilities available. I love Russian food so much, it seems like sacriledge to eat McD's when I'm there!

Jen said...

I have definitely eaten at a McDonalds in Russia - St. Petersburg and Moscow. While I was teaching English, fast food was basically the one thing that we could find that we KNEW would be exactly the same as back home. And even KFC was different, McDonalds was always the same. Except, it was really hard for me to order - if I didn't really lay on a thick Russian accent, I couldn't be understood when I wanted a биг мак - BEEG MAAAK. I was so disappointed when I arrived with ZERO language that they didn't number their value meals! I think I actually walked out nearly in tears... I couldn't get food anywhere! But, ya live, ya learn Russian (or at least Cyrillic script) and it all works out!

Eileen said...

Hey Jen, that's what I like too about McD's in Ru - that is predictable. Something like home but w/ a Russian twist. You're right, now that you mention it I do remember that meals aren't numbered. Sounds as though you managed to survive just fine though!

Jeanette - that's it - the restrooms are sooo clean. (or cleanER). Worth traipsing in there for, I agree! Yes, Russian food so good.(especially for guests!)

Anonymous, you're right about Subway. I know of a couple now. If you all got clear over to IKEA, which is on the far east side of town, you were really getting around quite well!

Kid said...

I have seen 5 McDonalds in Rostov. One in the Center, one on Pushkinsksya south of DGTU, one on Zorge in the west, one on Kosmonavt in the North and one at MEGA (although I guess that doesn't really count since it's just outside of the city.