By Alexander Marrow
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Starving for Big Macs after McDonald’s Corp closed Russian restaurants in March, Russians will get an alternative from the burger chain’s successor next year – with a “big hit.”
Russian fast-food chain Vkusno & tochka, or “delicious and that’s it,” said on Monday that Big Hit, with a new signature sauce, will be available from February, and the McDonald’s Happy Meal-like product will return as a “kids combo.”
McDonald’s closed its Russian restaurants shortly after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February and eventually sold it to a local licensee, Alexander Govor, who unveiled the new brand in June.
Vkusno & tochka CEO Oleg Paroev said the company has overcome supply chain problems and is increasing its share in a market traditionally dominated by foreign chains.
There are restrictions on colors and products that Vkusno & tochka can use. It will no longer serve Big Macs, nor will it use McDonald’s-style sauce, Paroev explained.
“(Big Hit) has its own sauce and a slightly different composition, a different arrangement of ingredients, but the quality and taste are very good,” said Paroev.
“We hope that Russian consumers will appreciate Big Hit and it will become a symbol of Vkusno & Tochka, like Big Mac is a symbol of McDonald’s.
After buying the Russian McDonald’s restaurants, Govor took over the Russian business of the Finnish packaging company Huhtamaki and a logistics firm called “Logistics and that’s it”.
On Monday, he said that Vkusno & tochka may try to find a partner to produce toys for the children’s combo, which currently includes a free book, but that his M&A appetite is satisfied for now.
Vkusno & tochka and meat producer Miratorg announced on Monday that they have agreed to build a factory in 2023 to supply the chain with chips and potato wedges. Faced with a potato shortage in some Vkusno & tochka restaurants, potatoes had to be removed from the menu this year.
“We were just forced to do it,” Govor said. “We were looking for partners because some of our suppliers, including potatoes, have doubled their prices since February.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Alison Williams and Josie Cao)