Foodservice Equipment Reports

Russia Says Goodbye To Wendy’s, Investigates McDonald’s

Where’s the beef? Not in Russia. After three years, The Wendy’s Co. is leaving the Russian market, after a change in the local franchisee’s management left the chain without strong leadership there.

Wenrus Restaurant Group, a former unit of Moscow-based Food Service Capital, agreed in 2010 to open 180 Wendy’s units across Russia within a decade. But only eight units ever opened, and a change in Wenrus’s ownership and management in the past year changed those plans.

“Unfortunately, the new leadership of Wenrus has not expressed interest in growing Wendy’s business in Russia, nor shown they have the resources to successfully operate the existing restaurants on a long-term basis,” Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said in a statement. “As a result, we have decided not to continue business in Russia at this time.”

Bertini said Wenrus has shut four Wendy’s outlets, and the chain expects the remaining four to close in coming weeks. He said political tensions between Russia and the West did not play a role in the Dublin, Ohio, company’s decision, and that Wendy’s hopes to return to the country.

Wendy’s is not the first chain to exit Russia. Chili’s Grill & Bar last year closed its flagship Moscow restaurant less than three years after it opened. In April, McDonald’s closed its stores in Crimea, citing supply problems; many in Russia saw the move as a rebuke for its annexation of Crimea, part of the Ukrainian peninsula, which prompted U.S. sanctions. The chain is now under investigation by the Kremlin for “alleged impurities” in its products.

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