Yum! Brands, the parent company of fried chicken chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), as well as McDonald’s, have announced the suspension of operations in Russia.
“This action builds on our decision to suspend all investment and restaurant development in Russia and redirect all profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts,” said Yum! Brands in a press release.
Those humanitarian efforts, says Yum! Brands, include a US$1 million donation from the Yum! Brands Foundation to the Red Cross to support those affected by the crisis, activating the Yum! Disaster Relief Fund to support Ukrainian franchise employees, and matching donations from employees to various charities providing relief in Ukraine. “In addition, our franchisees in the surrounding regions are providing food for refugees,” said the company.
Yum! Brands is also finalising an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia, in partnership with its master franchisee.
Yum! Brands reportedly has at least 1,000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia that are nearly all independent franchisees. Some 70 KFC sites are company-owned restaurants.
Reuters, meanwhile, reports that Russia is a key market that helped the brand achieve record development in 2021. “Last year was a record year of development for KFC, led by new restaurants opening in China, India and Russia,” it reported, adding that, in Russia, the company was opening about 100 new restaurants annually and had expected to continue “a similar expansion strategy going forward”.
In an email originally sent from McDonald’s CEO, Chris Kempczinski, to its employees and franchisees, the company stated, “we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace.”
Kempczinski continued to say that the company has provided immediate financial support to its team in Ukraine and will continue to pay full salaries for Ukrainian employees. US$5 million was, in addition, donated to the company’s Employee Assistance Fund.
Furthermore, “McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market. We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia. This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia.”
The company has operated for over 30 years in Russia and, in the beginning of 2022, in 850 communities in the country.