Now that McDonald's has shut down its restaurants in Crimea, Burger King has announced it'll seize the opportunity and open up shop on the peninsula — which could see it become become Crimea's prime fast-food destination. According to The Moscow Times, Burger King already has 200 restaurants in Russia, having opened its first in a Moscow shopping mall in 2010. At the moment, Russia's second-largest bank, VTB, has a 36.6 percent stake in the Burger King franchise. Still, Burger King has never had a restaurant in Crimea before.
CEO Dmitry Medoviy, of Burger King's Russian branch, told the English-language Russian news outlet ITAR-TASS: "We are planning to introduce our services in Crimea, though, I can neither tell you when exactly it will happen, nor how many restaurants there will be."
In the meantime, McDonald's relationship with Russia might not be looking too good. After Putin seized the Crimean peninsula and NATO suspended cooperation with Russia, the fast food company McDonald's decided to take some action, too. As of April 4, McDonald's began shutting down its restaurants in Crimea.
While there were only three McDonald's restaurants in Crimea to begin with, and while McDonald's emphasized that it was not a political statement, the decision still sent a message. "Like many other multi-national companies, McDonald's is currently evaluating potential business and regulatory implications which may result from the evolving situation in Crimea," McDonald's said in a statement.
The leader of Russia's far-right Liberal-Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, expressed anger at McDonald's decision. In a televised interview, Zhirinovsky said, "I will give an order to the LDPR local branches to place pickets outside all of McDonald's restaurants."
McDonald's, for the record, has 400 restaurants in Russia and has resided in the country since 1990. Zhirinovsky's sentiment, however, didn't extend to all Russian lawmakers, and Zhirinovsky's remarks appear to represent only his own views. According to AP, pro-Kremlin lawmakers have stated that they will not shut down McDonald's in Russia.
While McDonald's does plan to hopefully open restaurants in Crimea soon, for now it seems that Burger King will truly be the king of fast food on the peninsula.