RUSSIA—On March 8, McDonald’s International announced on its website it will be closing its doors temporarily and pausing operations in Russia. McDonald’s CEO, Chris Kempczinski, sent the message to employees and franchise owners stating:
“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people. As a System, we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace. Our number one priority from the start of this crisis has been – and will remain – our people.”
McDonald’s International employs 62,000 people in Russia in the 850 communities they serve. Hundreds of suppliers and producers of the food use the McDonald’s brand.
Kemczinski cited their values and needless suffering as the reason for shuddering the doors for the time being.
“…Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”
Fred Turner explained his approach quite simply: “Do the right thing.”
“That philosophy is enshrined as one of our five guiding values, and there are countless examples over the years of McDonald’s Corporation living up to Fred’s simple ideal. Today is also one of those days.”
The President of McDonald’s International, Ian Borden responded by offering immediate financial support for his employees in Ukraine.
“We are continuing to pay full salaries for our Ukrainian employees and have donated $5 million to our Employee Assistance Fund and continue to support relief efforts led by the International Red Cross in the region. We have been overwhelmed by the offers of support across the System and thank you for your generous contributions to date. As many of our colleagues in Ukraine have sought refuge, they have found the familiar support of the McDonald’s System in new and unfamiliar places. In Poland and many other markets across Europe, our System has literally opened their homes, their hearts, and their restaurants. The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Poland Care Mobile is at the Polish-Ukrainian border to provide medical care and humanitarian aid for families and children, and another Care Mobile is on the way from RMHC Latvia. Additionally, RMHC Ukraine is deploying medical supplies and providing humanitarian aid throughout the country, and its programs are being repurposed for use by hospital personnel.”
In addition to paying the salaries of the employees who are out of work in Ukraine and Russia, the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Russia and Ukraine will continue operations.
McDonald’s is not the only American-owned business to suspend operations in Russia. Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in Atlanta, GA also announced that they would be shutting their doors in Russia as well.