Yum! Brands announced Tuesday that it’s getting closer to fully leaving Russia, as the invasion of Ukraine wears on.
In June, the company transferred ownership of all Pizza Hut franchise assets to a local operator that will rebrand the stores. Yum! is also in advanced talks to transfer ownership of its KFC restaurants, operating system, and master franchise rights. Once that transaction is complete, the company will fully exit Russia.
In March, the multi-brand platform suspended operations of all corporately owned restaurants and halted investment and development efforts. Russia is home to roughly 1,000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut units, most of which are under license or franchise agreements with independent owners. Yum! has more than 53,000 restaurants around the world, 98 percent of which are owned and operated by franchisees.
At the time, the company decided to redirect all profits from Russia to humanitarian efforts and donate $1 million to the Red Cross. Yum! also used its disaster relief fund to support Ukrainian franchise employees and matched worker donations to UNICEF, Red Cross, World Food Programme, and International Rescue Committee.
It’s the latest move of a larger exodus from the country.
After temporarily closing its 850 restaurants in March, McDonald’s revealed in May that it was leaving Russia permanently and selling its business to Alex Govor, a licensee since 2015. The chain “de-Arched” its restaurants, meaning removal of its name, logo, branding, and menu. McDonald’s kept its trademarks in the country to prevent potential copycats. Govor has since rebranded stores to “Vkusno & Tochka,” which means “Tasty and that’s it.” The burger giant was in Russia for roughly three decades, and is expected to incur costs of $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion because of the move.
Starbucks is exiting the country after 15 years of business and development of 130 shops. For the next few months, the coffee chain is paying 2,000 employees and assisting them with finding other jobs.
In mid-March, Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International said it planned to remove itself from Russia as well, but the process takes longer since its part of a joint venture partnership. There are about 800 franchised Burger King restaurants in the country, and RBI has a 15 percent stake.