The Huge Change Starbucks Just Announced For Its Russian Locations

The first Starbucks in Russia opened in 2007 inside of Moscow's Mega Khimki shopping center, per The Moscow Times. Since then, the chain has licensed roughly 130 coffee shops in the country. But now, reports CNBC, Starbucks has announced the end of its 15-year run in Russia due to the country's continuing attacks on Ukraine. The move is similar to the huge change McDonald's just made with its Russian restaurants, as well as shifts taken by several non-food businesses — like Exxon Mobil and British American Tobacco — which recently announced plans to exit the country as pressure builds to take a stand; "Boycott McDonald's" was even trending on Twitter before the company confirmed its departure from Russia. 

Starbucks itself doesn't actually own or operate any cafes in Russia — all of the locations in the country are licensed. The company already suspended the business of those locations, which have been placed on hold since March 8. At the time, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said of the decision: "We condemn the unprovoked, unjust and horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia, and our hearts go out to all those affected." The company had said its stores would remain open in Russia but would donate their profits to Ukrainian humanitarian efforts. Now, it seems Starbucks is taking things further, deciding to close the 130 licensed cafes in Russia that represent 1% of the company's revenue.

What Starbucks is doing for its Russian workers

The 130 Starbucks cafes in Russia were places of employment for almost 2,000 workers, according to the company's announcement. Starbucks' withdrawal from the country means that those people will soon be without jobs, but the company said it will ease their transition by paying those Russian partners for six more months while they attempt to find new work.

Those 2,000 workers may be in a tougher spot than the 62,000 former McDonald's employees in Russia. That's because McDonald's has said in a press release that it plans to sell its businesses in Russia to "a local buyer," and the company plans to keep paying employees until the sale is finalized. McDonald's went on to say that it hopes to secure employment for all of its former workers with the future buyer. So far, Starbucks hasn't announced such measures, but it said it would provide "assistance for partners to transition to new opportunities outside of Starbucks."