An Impressive Story About How Soviet Union’s First McDonald’s Was Opened (27 pics)

Posted in       14 Sep 2018       2234      

On January 31, 1990, the first Soviet McDonald’s opened, in Moscow

It was the largest McDonald’s in the world at the time of its construction

And a venue with 900 seats needed a lot of employees, too

In a country where unemployment did not exist, 35,000 people applied for a job in the fast food restaurant

Around 600 were hired

The venture had been in talks with the Soviet officials since 1976

And you could say that the appearance of this notorious symbol of capitalism was a sign that times were changing

Reportedly, the restaurant expected to serve around 1,000 during its first day, but more than 5,000 Russians lined up in Pushkinskaya Square before it even opened

The summer came but the lines just kept growing. People from other cities were flocking the restaurant just for a single hamburger

“We stood under the melting sun for around eight hours,” one visitor said

“That wasn’t so much of a problem as we were used to standing in lines for days just to get our monthly ration of sugar and tea”

“Once inside we were blown away by the number of young cashiers behind the huge counter, smiling, moving like bees, serving one meal after another”

“Nothing like our fat old ladies in white gowns sitting in front of empty shelves, pyramids of dusty canned food as window dressing”

“I still remember how insanely huge the milkshake looked and I didn’t know how to hold a Big Mac with my tiny hands”

The Moscow McDonald’s initiative was a joint venture between McDonald’s of Canada and Moscow city council

A plan first envisioned when George Cohon, founder and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, met Soviet officials at the ’76 Summer Olympics in Montreal

“I’m particularly proud of the people story behind the first opening, both from Canada and Russia, learning from each other and working as one team”

“This is a story about co-operation between nations”

“And it is also a story about the Soviet who saw a sign outside reading ‘Rubles Only’ – and who said to me, ‘This is my restaurant'”

The opening drew many important people

Including Boris Yeltsin who later became the 1st President of Russia

And in the country where the average salary was about 150 rubles per month

A Big “Mak” was selling for 3.75 rubles

And people couldn’t get enough

In total, over 30,000 customers passed through the doors on the opening day of the restaurant

Setting a record for the number of customers served by a single McDonald’s in a day

The Soviet Union dissolved on December 26, 1991


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