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.
You see the people line up around the park, all the way to the horizon.