McDonald’s Big Macs are still being sold in Moscow, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, while many businesses have shut down in Russia, the largest fast-food company in the world, McDonald’s, has so far maintained its business as normal in the country.
With an expected $280 billion in assets under control by 2021, New York state’s pension system, which owns 847 restaurants in Russia, is urging McDonald’s to shut down those locations as well.
State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wrote a letter to McDonald’s CEO Christoper Kempczinski on Friday stating that a halt or termination of McDonald’s business operations in Russia would address various investment risks associated with the Russian market and play an important role in condemning Russia’s role in fundamentally undermining the international order that is vital to a strong and healthy global economy.
According to a tally kept by Yale University management expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, more than 200 foreign and domestic enterprises have already stopped operations in Russia. Among the 32 firms that remain in Russia with considerable exposure are McDonald’s and Pepsi.
An estimated 84% of McDonald’s restaurants in Russia are owned by a Chicago-based corporation, which generates 9% of its overall income in the country. Three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on January 31, 1990, the firm launched its first Russian location.
Snack and beverage conglomerate PepsiCo, along with eight other firms, have been urged by the Office of New York State Comptroller to stop doing business in Russia, according to a representative for CBS MoneyWatch. The spokeswoman said that none of the companies had answered yet.
For companies like McDonald’s and Pepsi that have a strong presence in Russia, it’s time to reassess whether it’s worth the risk at this moment,” DiNapoli said in an email. Companies we invest in are urged to do risk assessments to determine what is in their best interests and that of their shareholders.
CBS MoneyWatch emailed both McDonald’s and PepsiCo to inquire about if they plan to continue operating in Russia, but neither company responded.
Many people on social media are calling for a boycott against McDonald’s and PepsiCo due to their lack of action on the issue.
Among the reactions: “I’m not lovin’ it,” tweeted one person. “@McDonalds is continuing to do business as normal in Russia, which means the corporate and sales taxes it pays there directly support Putin’s unlawful and homicidal war in Ukraine.”
Burger King, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, are among the other fast-food and beverage firms that have come under fire on social media.