Following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, Restaurant Brands International (RBI) announced its intention to shutter all Burger King establishments in Russia. However, despite the passage of 18 months, this action has yet to materialize.
The Burger King locations in Russia are operated through a collaborative endeavor involving RBI and Russian third-party operators, with RBI holding a modest 15% interest. In March 2022, shortly after the onset of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, David Shear, the President of RBI, disclosed that they had initiated the process of divesting their ownership stake. He acknowledged, however, that the timeline for this move would be extended due to the terms outlined in their ownership agreement.
When questioned in October 2023 regarding the progress of withdrawing their restaurants from Russia, RBI indicated that there have been no recent developments to report.
Shear reports that the major operator of Burger Kings in Russia was ordered by RBI to stop doing business there, but the operator allegedly resisted. According to that operator, they only hold a 30% stake in Burger Kings in Russia, therefore they lack the control and authority to shut down any location.
According to a representative for RBI, since the Russian invasion, RBI has stopped investing in and supporting its supply chain for its 800 Russian franchise sites. Since March 2022, the stores have also not generated any revenue for RBI.
The Moral Rating Agency, established in early 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion to persuade firms in Russia to leave the nation, has harshly criticized RBI, alleging that RBI is profiting from Putin’s government by continuing to operate there.
The Moral Rating Agency’s founder, Mark Dixon, thinks RBI should withdraw its franchisees from Russia and bear the dangers and repercussions that come with doing the right thing from a legal standpoint.
While beverage juggernaut Coca-Cola was successful in having their drinks removed from all Russian outlets, RBI was unable to remove all stores from Russia. Since the invasion of Ukraine, a number of businesses, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, have stopped doing business in Russia.