Amid rising pressure on businesses to respond to Russiaâ€™s invasion of Ukraine, McDonaldâ€™s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks said on Tuesday that they were pausing operations in Russia.
McDonaldâ€™s has nearly 850 restaurants in Russia, including those that it owns and those that are owned by franchisees. Starbucksâ€™s restaurants there are owned and operated by the Kuwaiti conglomerate Alshaya Group.
McDonaldâ€™s opened its first restaurant in Russia in Moscowâ€™s Pushkin Square in 1990 and became a symbol of Western culture to the Russian people.
â€œFor 66 years, we have operated with the belief that communities are made better when thereâ€™s a McDonaldâ€™s nearby,â€ Chris Kempczinski, the companyâ€™s chief executive, said in a statement. He noted the company employed 62,000 people in the country, worked with hundreds of local Russian suppliers and partners, and served millions of Russian customers each day.
â€œIn the 30-plus years that McDonaldâ€™s has operated in Russia, weâ€™ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate,â€ he said.
Individuals on social media and investors have ramped up pressure on businesses to pull out of Russia, especially fast-food chains, which have been criticized for lagging behind other companies with decisions about their Russia operations.
â€œCompanies doing business in Russia need to seriously consider whether itâ€™s worth the risk,â€ Thomas P. DiNapoli, the head of the New York State pension fund, one of the worldâ€™s largest and most influential investors, said in a statement. â€œI commend the companies that are taking the right steps and suspending their operations in Russia.â€
McDonaldâ€™s said it would continue to pay salaries for McDonaldâ€™s employees in Russia, as it has for its employees in Ukraine. Starbucks said its licensing partner in Russia would provide â€œsupportâ€ to the nearly 2,000 employees in Russia.
McDonaldâ€™s will feel a financial impact from the move. Although the Russian operations make up only 3 percent of its operating income, they make up 9 percent of its revenue.