22 First McDonalds in Soviet Union: Biggest Launch Event in the World

First McDonalds in Soviet Union: Biggest Launch Event in the World

Posted on January 30, 2015 by tim



On this day, but twenty five years earlier, on January 30th of 1990 the first McDonalds eatery opened in Moscow. It was also the first one in the whole country – in the Soviet Union. They say they were holding talks with Soviet officials about opening this venture for over 20 years – since 1976. Also, they offered 51% ownership of the venture to the Soviet state. Then, on the first day, they were expecting 1,000 people to come to the new place. How many people actually came to taste American food? 30,000 people arrived on the first day, making it the largest restaurant launch worldwide, ever. Thanks to Russian blogger Sergey we’ve got over 30 photos from this event, where the line of people was a few miles long! Let’s see inside:




At first, before opening the restaurant, McDonalds started building a factory to produce the buns and other ingredients. So in 1989 it was ready and over 50 million dollars had been invested in it.



Then they started constructing the restaurant itself. Canadian managers of McDonalds were key figures in making this happen, so they were coming to Moscow in person to see how the construction was going.





It was the largest McDonalds in the world at the time of the construction and even today remains the largest one in Europe.

You can click on any photo if your secret passion is seeing old Soviet photos of McDonalds in widescreen!





One year earlier, there was just a regular Soviet cafe on the place of the future McD.



And now the brand new place was ready to open the doors to the public.




But before that, there was a hiring event. Over 35,000 people applied for a job in what would be the first ever foreign restaurant in the Soviet Union, and around 600 people were accepted.




Moscow’s top authorities had a stake in the venture so they came to greet the workers.




Mounting the sign.


So there was a grand opening





Even Yeltsin arrived at the launch on the first day.





And a queue a few miles long of people wanting to try something new.


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22 Responses to “First McDonalds in Soviet Union: Biggest Launch Event in the World”

  1. Richard S. says:

    i remember visiting a McDonalds in Cheboksary and Kazan. They were ahead of the McDonalds chain in North America.

  2. FIzzik says:

    “It was the largest McDonalds in the world at the moment of the construction and even today stays the largest one in Europe.”

    Mr Putin has said very clearly that Europe is not Russia.

    I agree.

    • Evro says:

      Geographically, Russia is in Europe and Asia, and you can clearly say that this McDonald’s is in the European part of Russia. Your comment doesn’t make so much sense…

      • Darius says:

        Well, there are always two definitions. One is fixed – that is the geographical. The other is always “movable” according to which politicians and what for they need this definition.

        For example – all countries that are to the east from the “East Germany” politically are called the Eastern Europe, even today.

        • CZenda says:

          Yes. Unfortunately. Average Englishman does not differentiate between Slovenia/Slovakia, Czech/Chechen, Czechoslovakia/Yugoslavia etc.
          But, let us be optimistic – the same product of Thatcherist education confuses Belgium with France and generally thinks that anything across the Channel is nothing but wild, poor, unwashed and uneducated criminal masses eager to flood The White Cliffs of Dover.

  3. Otis R. Needleman says:

    I bet Russians would go crazy for In-And-Out Burger. It’s ten times better than McDonald’s.

    • Andrew says:

      Soviets went crazy not for burgers but for western lifestyle. As for me McDonalds burger is not delicious food. But it was a piece of another civilization.

  4. Joseph M says:


  5. Ricky says:

    Is that Putin in the back making french fries?

  6. heh says:

    So Lira(lyre) was “just regular Soviet cafe”, eh!?

  7. Steamed McQueen says:

    Good old Micky D’s… What an event it must have been.

    Today of course there are many McDs in Russia. I am saddened that Carl’s Jr. has pulled out of the country- IMO they offer a far better burger- and they don’t charge for things like ketchup and drink refills!

  8. Tutan Camon says:

    Never the products like in the pictures!!!!!Long live the plastic food!Is good even after 9 years!Look the iceland burger.

  9. Karsten says:

    You should understand that it is not the burger russians were so crazy about, it was the myth about the other world behind the iron curtain. In my opinion american food is just trash, nobody should consume.

  10. Tommo says:

    Yeltsin and McDonald’s- everything horrible about east and west in one photo!

  11. javox says:

    totally, i ate in a in and out and isss the beeestttt

  12. Faith Gorodki says:

    Does one visit the defecatery after visiting the eatery?

  13. Ruben Farje says:

    now most of them are close for healthy reason, must be for politic reason

  14. Slaven says:

    Such a mistake to let western mobsters invade USSR through the small door or in a “benevolent” way. If not for scams like this maybe moron Gorbachev and mobster Yeltsin would have never gotten the chance to destroy USSR. I wonder how much money Yeltsin received as a incentive to be the lobbist of these social saboteurs. In a country where loaf of bread costed 0.15 rubles no one was hungry. In todays money parity difference is not bigger anyway.

    • Anixx says:

      I do not know where the figure that bread leaf costed 15 kopecks came from. Bread was usually free in cafeterias, or at worst would cost 2 kopecks a leaf.

  15. Captain Amerikanski says:

    McBarf it up!

  16. Douglas says:

    At that time it offered one of the best meals in Moscow.

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