McDonald’s was forced to leave Russia and sold all its restaurants to a local licensee?

This case highlights the supply challenges faced by many Kazakh businesses following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions against Moscow. Kazakhstan’s principal trading partner is Russia, its closest neighbor.

According to the U.S.-based firm, its Kazakhstani licensee has closed its restaurants temporarily due to problems with local supply. We are working together to restart operations as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Food Solutions, a Kazakh licensee company announced the closing on Nov. 17. It cited “local supply concerns” and did not respond.

McDonald’s has been a dominant player in Kazakhstan’s fast food market for six years. Kazakhstan is a Central Asian country of 20 million people. McDonald’s has increased its number of restaurants to 24 over the last six years.

The company had obtained supplies from overseas, including beef and poultry. According to its website, the latter was obtained from Russia’s Miratorg.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, which Moscow called a “specially military operation”, McDonald’s left Russia, selling all of its restaurants to a local licencee in May.

Food Solutions, a Kazakh businessman Kairat Boranbayev’s company, began to look for suppliers in other countries and stopped buying Russian products, according to a source close.

Another source stated that it ran out of packaging materials in recent months and had to reduce its menu. Both sources are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Sources said that the licensee was currently waiting for deliveries from other suppliers. They plan to reopen their restaurants in December. It is unclear from where the decision was made to leave Russia’s suppliers.

Marr Russia was one of the Kazakh companies’ Russian suppliers. It said it had never worked with McDonald’s directly, but instead dealt with HAVI, its Kazakh logistics partners. It could not comment on whether sales to Kazakhstan had stopped, however. HAVI declined to comment.

Miratorg claimed it was a supplier of Vkusno & Tochka in Russia, which is the Russian successor to McDonald’s. However, he did not address the question regarding Kazakh sales.

Food Solutions had previously mentioned Cargill Russia among its suppliers. They said that the company that handled McDonald’s was now owned by Cherkizovo. Cherkizovo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin answered questions about McDonald’s on Tuesday.

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