Russians could soon be queuing up for ZBurgers instead of Big Macs after the country’s McDonald’s restaurants undergo rebranding.
McDonald’s ceased its operations across Russia in March following the invasion of Ukraine, but has since announced a full-scale withdrawal from the country.
The American chain’s almost 850 stores have been bought by Russian businessman Alexander Govor, who already operated 25 restaurants in the country, under the condition it would ditch the famous ‘golden arches’.
Following the handover, Russia’s Ministry of Trade reached out to citizens for inspiration on the chain’s branding.
‘What will the new network be called?’ it asked members of the public in a post on Telegram.
‘The name for the Russian fast food chain has not been invented yet and we’d love to hear your suggestion. We will give the most creative and interesting ones to the Russian owner.’
Among the suggestions was ZBurger – a reference to the Russian military’s insignia – and Rusburger.
The Z-shaped symbol has become synonymous with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with open source analysts first spotting it hand-painted on its troops’ tanks in February.
The emblem became more prevalent as the war intensified with it being spotted on more artillery as well as clothing merchandise being sold by state-funded network RT.
Russia’s defence ministry has not directly commented on the significance of the sign, but explained ‘Z’ stood for ‘za pobedu’ (‘for victory’), in a post on Instagram.
McDonald’s said it was permanently pulling out of Russia as a continued presence is ‘no longer tenable, nor is it consistent’ with the fast food chain’s values.
However, it has guaranteed all 62,000 restaurant workers employment as part of any deal with new owners, and will continue to pay them throughout the transition.
The chain vowed to ‘de-arch’ whomever was taking over its stores, banning the successors from using its name, branding or menu.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.