“The closure has got nothing to do with inspections carried out by Rospotrebnadzor (a Russian consumer rights watchdog). Besides, they have already checked one of our restaurants in Astrakhan without revealing any violations. There is nothing else we can say,” the source said.
The director of the closed McDonald’s outlet was not available for comment. His employees said his working day was over and that there would be no further comments.
Rospotrebnadzor’s local branch confirmed the closure to ITAR-TASS.
“One of the McDonald’s outlets in Astrakhan has indeed closed. But we did not have time to make our planned check. We did not find any breaches in the second restaurant which must have thoroughly prepared for our inspection,” Yevgeny Odoyevsky, the deputy head of the regional Rospotrebnadzor branch, said.He added that Rospotrebnadzor had inspected both McDonald’s outlets in Astrakhan last year upon receiving complaints from customers and had imposed huge fines on the fast-food restaurants for breaking sanitary regulations.
Last week, the Russian consumer rights watchdog shut several McDonald’s outlets in Moscow. The company pulled out of Crimea after the peninsula had reunited with Russia in April 2014.
The McDonald’s fast food chain pulled out of Crimea early in April 2014 for reasons that did not depend on the company, the chain’s website said.
The McDonald’s restaurants in Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol are now empty though the signboards and corporate logos are still on.
Crimea’s acting Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Thursday that the Crimean authorities had not received a single complaint from tourists or Crimeans in recent months about the closure of McDonald’s fast-food restaurants in the peninsula.
“There are no regrets. Not a single complaint has been received from the guests or Crimean residents,” the premier said.
“Everything is fine. We are just going to be healthier. McDonald’s is not our food. Look at the people who eat at McDonald’s. Many of them can get through the door only if they turn sidewise,” Aksyonov said.
The authorities in Sevastopol are thinking of opening restaurants of the national fast food chain RusBurger in the building of the former McDonald’s outlet.
McDonald's, however, will not abandon plans to open outlets in Russia’s Siberia.
McDonald's plans to open by the end of the year three new restaurants in the country's third-largest city Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, and four restaurants in the Siberian city of Omsk. Another six McDonald’s restaurants are to open in Omsk in the years to come.
The McDonald’s Corporation, founded in 1940, is the world’s largest fast-food chain. It has more than 35,000 outlets in 119 countries. The first McDonald's location opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, California.
Russia's first McDonald's opened on Moscow's Pushkin Square in 1990, when it was viewed as a sign that Cold War tensions with the United States were starting to thaw.
McDonald's operates 438 restaurants in Russia and sees the country as one of its top seven major markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report.