The Revamped Russian McDonald's Logo That Has People Seeing The Past

The Cold War, which had been simmering since 1947, wasn't really over when McDonald's planted its metaphorical flag on Soviet soil by opening a restaurant on January 31, 1990, in Pushkinskaya Square, per CNN. Until 1991, the Soviet Union continued to hold fast as the last communist government standing in Eastern Europe, but on that first day of business, approximately 30,000 Russians managed to cobble together what CNBC described as "half a day's wages" in order to treat themselves to a helping of capitalism served on a bun.

By the time McDonald's shut down its operations in Russia on March 11, 2022 - initially framed as a temporary move - in condemnation of Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, there were around 850 Russian McDonald's restaurants with 62,000 employees who would still be paid. The multinational chain would take a nearly $1.4 billion hit from the closures, per Reuters. On May 19, the company announced, via a press release, that it planned to stop the financial bleeding by selling the restaurants to Russian national and McDonald's licensee Alexander Nikolaevich Govor, the previous operator of 25 Siberian locations.

On Sunday, June 12, 15 former McDonald's locations in and around Moscow reopened with 630 of the existing employees under a whole new brand. But is it really a whole new brand? Frankly, it's debatable. First, there's the logo. Then there's McDonald's buy-back option. That's right, a buy-back option. Shall we unpack?

The past is still present even without the arches

The business formerly known as McDonald's in Russia will henceforth be known as Vkusno & Tochka, which translates to "Tasty and that's it," per CNN. The new logo, shown above, eschews yellow in favor of green, orange, and red, and is said to be a representation of two fries and a burger. The company that manages the newly branded business told the Russian state-owned news agency, TASS, that the logo is intended to remind customers that the past is still present, at least in terms of "the quality of products and service" that McDonald's customers have come to expect. Nevertheless, some people feel the new logo, pictured above, isn't a mere reminder so much as quite transparently calling to mind the letter "M," per BBC.

McDonald's has offered no sign that it is in any way troubled by this possible association between itself and its recently divested Russian business. We do know that McDonald's has reserved the right to repurchase its previous Russian holdings within 15 years. And right there is a very good reason McDonald's might even have a vested interest in the Vkusno & Tochka logo maintaining a low-key "M" vibe.