Story at a glance
- Burger King is the latest American brand to announce it is halting business operations in Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
- The fast-food giant suspended all corporate support for the Russian market, including operations, marketing and supply chain.
- Burger King joins a growing list of brands, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and PepsiCo, that are withdrawing from Russia.
Another American corporation is pulling its business from Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. Fast-food giant Burger King says it’s halted corporate support for more than 800 franchised restaurants in the country.
In a statement, Restaurant Brands International (RBI) announced on Thursday that Burger King has suspended corporate support for the Russian market, including operations, marketing and supply chain in addition to refusing approvals for investment and expansion.
The fast-food brand does not have any corporate restaurants in Russia, as the business is fully franchised and managed by a local master franchisee.
RBI also reiterated Burger King’s commitment to directing profits from franchised operations to humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees.
Burger King and its franchisees have also made a $1 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That’s along with Burger King franchisees in more than 25 European countries partnering with local nonprofits to distribute $2 million worth of Burger King’s signature Whopper free meal vouchers to Ukrainian refugees.
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McDonald’s and Starbucks also recently suspended business activity in Russia.
For some brands there isn’t a clear and immediate path to cut off business in Russia, such as for Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell. In a statement, the company said it has approximately 1,000 KFC restaurants and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia, nearly all of which are operated by independent owners under license or franchise agreements.
However, like Burger King, Yum! Brands has suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia and is directing all profits from its Russia operations to humanitarian efforts.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team at the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute has developed a running list of companies that remain operating in Russia and those that have announced they are pulling out of the country.
According to Sonnenfeld, hundreds of companies have withdrawn from Russia in a “mass corporate exodus.”
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