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McDonald's conquers its 'final frontier' in Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
22 August 2012

The American fast food chain is on the way into the largest (populated) Big Mac-free territory on the globe: but do the locals want it?

McDonald's: on its way to Siberia

McDonald's has been in Russia since the Red flag flew over the Kremlin more than two decades ago, but now it has taken the decision to step properly out of the European part of the country and venture east. 

There was confirmation this week that the hunt is on for ten sites in Novosibirsk, Siberia's largest city, for McDonald's outlets. 

Local company Sib-Food, registered in the city, is the local partner, say reports citing the Department of Construction and Architecture in Novosibirsk.

A number of sites have been agreed with openings beginning in 2013, as Big Mac has gone where it has never been before in 2013, it is believed. So far the furthest east McDonald's  in Russia is a large outlet in Tyumen on the western edge of Siberia.

Previously there were logistical problems in supplying the outlets. 

Apparently fuelled by a hamburger slowdown caused by the economic malaise in Europe, the company is keener to venture to some of Siberia's major cities. Another key factor was a decision to use local franchise partners east of the Urals. 

The first evidence of the restaurant developments in Novosibirsk follows a March announcement from Viktor Eidemiller, the chain's vice president for development, who said in March: 'We have made a final decision to enter into Siberia'.

Tomsk, Omsk, and Barnaul are also set to be on the Big Mac map which has some 314 Russian outlets, he indicated. A McDonald's cargo distribution site is expected near Novosibirsk.

In Novosibirsk this week we found a mixed reaction over the Big mac. 

Anastasia Parkhomenko
Anastasiya (Nastya) Parkhomenko, 23, editor of Novosibirsk 'Resto' magazine 

Nastya Parkhomeno, 23, editor of 'Resto' magazine on where to eat in Novosibirsk, said: 'I am very unhappy about McDonald's plans to build restaurants here. 

'I personally believe that it is bad thing for children. It is understandable that they will be the main customers. 

'Talking about adults- it's their own choice to eat there or not, but schoolchildren are likely to get addicted to this sort of food, which to my mind is not healthy. 

'In general for the city, I do not think it will make much difference to the market. The brand is not new or interesting anymore. People talking about pluses for the economics of the city, but me personally, I cannot see any good sides or benefits from them being in Novosibirsk.'

But Irina Vinnik, 24, a postgraduate student of Novosibirsk Institute of Philosophy and Law, said: 'I think it's a good thing that McDonald's will enter Siberia from our city. Definitely, the city will benefit from the economic point of view, from employment of citizens and competition among other fast-food players on the market. 

'Talking about the 'unhealthy' side of McDonalds food, there is a personal choice to eat or not to eat'. I hope people won't protest saying: 'Americans killing Russians with their food'. 

Radio DJ Aleksander Khlyakin, 23, said: 'I tried McDonald's more than once, and don't see anything cool in this food. These kind of things don't make me happy or excited. On the other hand, I don't lose anything from McDonald's restaurants coming to  Novosibirsk. 

'I think if I am hungry and find myself near the restaurant, I will definitely end up eating there. Plus, McDonald's is a well known brand. My personal opinion is - it's great to have a wide choice. So McDonald's - WELCOME to Siberia.'

'It's a great news,' said schoolboy Nikita Istomin, 13.

'I hope McDonald's will be close to our school so we can go there and eat during our break. It shows Novosibirsk is a growing city and such big brand as McDonalds is finally interested in our Siberia.'

Comments (3)

If it was only In N Out Burger, that would be impressive.
G.Wigler, Colorado, USA
22/05/2015 06:46
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Surely the point is will there be adequate competition from other 'fast-food' outlets, and from healthy eating outlets? There's no point talking about 'choice' if the choice isn't a level playing field. What are local Siberian/Russian eateries like? Are there any other 'good but inexpensive' foreign eateries where Mac will set up?
Philip, /UK
23/10/2012 17:48
well said Anastasia - people are free to choose what to eat. at least with McDonald's you know that the food processing will be on the same level as elsewhere in the world - unlike some of the unfamiliar Siberian eateries
Tom, Germany
22/08/2012 19:25
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