Russia’s rebranded McDonald’s restaurants are hastily scribbling out the go…

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The chain’s hurried rebranding shows its attempt to create restaurants that serve as McDonald’s substitutes while not violating trademarks.Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

  • Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants opened on Sunday with a new name – Vkusno & tochka.

  • The chain’s hurried rebranding means it is seemingly still using the same sauce packets.

  • Photos from the rebranded sites show sauce packets with the McDonald’s logo scribbled out with pen.

Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants reopened on Sunday with a new name, logo, and menu, but the same sauce packets.

Staff at the rebranded fast-food chain had scribbled the McDonald’s logo off sauce packets with black pen, Reuters reported, with an image from the Agence France-Presse seemingly confirming this.

Vkusno & tochka, which Reuters translated as “Tasty and that’s it,” opened 15 stores in and around Moscow on Sunday, including what was formerly McDonald’s flagship Russian restaurant in the city’s Pushkin Square.

Russian businessman Alexander Govor bought McDonald’s Russian restaurants after the burger giant said that continued ownership was “no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The chain’s hurried rebranding shows how Govor has tried to strike a balance between operating restaurants that will satisfy customers as a substitute for McDonald’s and not violating the company’s trademarks.

“We don’t have the right to use some colors, we don’t have the right to use the golden arches, we don’t have the right to use any mention of McDonald’s,” Govor told Reuters.

The huge lines of people waiting to get burgers in the days before McDonald’s Russian restaurants closed and the hefty price tags for its products on classified-ads sites show the scale of its bulging Russian market. By clinging onto aspects of McDonald’s menu, branding, and store design, whenever possible, Vkusno & tochka can try win over loyal customers.

The famous golden arches have been scrapped, and Vkusno & tochka has a new logo made up of just one dot and two lines — or a burger and two fries — which appear in the shape of a large “M.”

Oleg Paroev, who was named as CEO of McDonald’s Russia in February, and who has continued his role as CEO of Vkusno & tochka, said that the restaurant interiors would remain the same but all traces of the McDonald’s name would be removed, per Reuters.

Photos published by The Wall Street Journal show menu items similar to what McDonald’s sells – including chicken nuggets, fish burgers, and fruit pies – but with different packaging.

Reuters reported that the chain largely used plain white packaging for fries and burgers, plain white drink cups, and plain brown paper takeaway bags. This is also evident in some of the photos of products on Vkusno & tochka’s website.

Though some dishes look familiar, Vkusno & tochka has no plans to sells Big Macs and McFlurrys. “These names, these brands, their appearance and production technology” are too directly related to McDonald’s, Paroev said, per the WSJ.

Some other menu items aren’t available because of logistical difficulties, and trade restrictions mean dishes will likely change, Paroev said, per the WSJ. This includes Coca Cola’s decision to suspend sales in Russia, which has left Vkusno & tochka looking for new soft drink suppliers, per Reuters.

The chain sources 98% of its ingredients from within Russia, Paroev told Reuters.

But ultimately the burgers that are on sale contain the same ingredients and are made with the same equipment as when McDonald’s operated the restaurants, Alexander Merkulov, the company’s quality manager, said, per Reuters.

“Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambience,” Paroev said at a news conference, per Reuters. He said that Vkusno & tochka planned to reopen all of McDonald’s former Russian restaurants by the end of the summer, with 200 reopening by the end of June.

Read the original article on Business Insider