Russia doesn’t need our crummy, internationally popular burger chains; they can have their own. After Russia took over the once-Ukrainian territory of Crimea, McDonald’s decided to hightail it out of there, leaving nothing behind nothing but crushed American burger dreams in three locations.
Russia has since decided to step in and put their own burger chain, RusBurger, in. The first location will open this month in Sevastopol with other expansions planned for later, though it isn’t clear if they’ll be filling all the vacancies left by McDonald’s’ exit. The chain right now is small, with only a dozen locations, but with Crimea added as a possible area of expansion, they could be seeing a surge of locations.
If you’ve never heard of RusBurger—which is okay, you don’t need to have an extensive knowledge of burger chains around the world—their signature items include the Czar Cheeseburger and the Bogatyr sandwich, which is named after ancient Russian heroes. The chain follows the typical marketing, saying their burgers are never frozen, they only use fresh ingredients and that Western burgers, like perhaps those sold by McDonald’s, are not burgers. They also shy away from serving soda, instead offering pear lemonade.
McDonald’s said it was having trouble getting supplies when it officially left the area in April. It promised to relocate workers to nearby Ukraine, if they wanted to continue working for the company. RusBurger boasts that it only uses Russian ingredients which will make their burgers fresher and will prevent them from having any sourcing issues. Their take is that people are missing “The Taste of Russia,” which happens to be their slogan, so they’re really betting big on the mother country.
We will give RusBurger one thing: At least their company mascot isn’t a creepy smiling happy meal box with human teeth. Instead, they have a mustachioed body builder.