McDonald's announced Thursday that it's planning a phased reopening in Ukraine, where stores have been closed roughly six months.
Some units will reopen in Kyiv, the capital, and western Ukraine. McDonald's didn't provide specifics on how many would reopen or the exact timing.
Paul Pomeroy, corporate senior vice president of international operated markets, said McDonald's came to the decision after consideration of Ukrainian officials, suppliers, security specialists, and employees. In the next few months, the fast-food chain will work to get product to restaurants, prepare sites, and implement enhanced safety protocols.
"As we look forward, supporting our people in Ukraine continues to be our number one priority," Pomeroy said in a statement. "We’ve spoken extensively to our employees who have expressed a strong desire to return to work and see our restaurants in Ukraine reopen, where it is safe and responsible to do so. In recent months, the belief that this would support a small but important sense of normalcy has grown stronger. And Ukrainian officials have advised that businesses resuming operations will support the local economy and the Ukrainian people."
McDonald's decided in February to close roughly 110 company-owned Ukraine restaurants amid the growing Russian conflict. The chain donated $5 million to help employees, and provided medical care and humanitarian aid through Ronald McDonald House Charities. The company has paid the salaries of the 10,000 employees since the shutdown.
The quick-service giant temporarily shuttered its 850 Russia units in March, and announced a decision to fully exit the country two months later. McDonald's sold the footprint to Alexander Govor, who served as a licensee for several years and owned restaurants in Siberia. He has since rebranded the units to Vkusno & Tochka," which means "Tasty and that's it." The move out of Russia cost the chain $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion.
Yum! Brands said earlier this month that nearly all of its stores in Ukraine have reopened.