I vividly remember the news when the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Russia. The place was mobbed with customers eager for a taste of American fast food. It was a very optimistic time in America, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and American goods selling strongly in practically every new market they entered. Hard to believe that it was 15 years ago.
Much has changed since 1990. Companies can no longer depend on pro-American sentiment to drive sales; many companies are working hard these days to appear less American and more local.
McDonald’s now offers highly localized menus for each market. It also relies more heavily on local food suppliers, ensuring higher quality and engendering good will with customers.
Today, there are 127 McDonald’s restaurants in Russia across in 37 cities. McDonald’s is not enjoying the type of growth that it enjoyed 15 years ago, but it still has a lot going for it, perhaps more so outside the US than inside the US.