Let a Thousand McDonald's Bloom in Russia
Excerpts from today's WSJ article "As Burgers Boom in Russia, McDonald's Touts Discipline":
Of the 118 countries where McDonald's does business, none can boast more activity than Russia. On average, each location serves about 850,000 diners annually -- more than twice the store traffic in McDonald's other markets.
MP: That's pretty amazing. Assuming 5 holidays, that's almost 2,400 meals per day per McDonald's, and 150 meals per hour if they're open 16 hours per day, and 2.5 meals every minute, and one meal served every 24 seconds!
Opening a single McDonald's here can require as many as 200 signatures from local officials. Real-estate prices have increased as much as tenfold over the past decade. And in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the big cities that are McDonald's main focus, low unemployment rates make it difficult to find qualified personnel.
The Pushkin Square location (pictured above), with its 900 seats, 26 cash registers, and free wireless Internet access, has long drawn more customers than any other McDonald's in the world.
When McDonald's opened its first Russian drive-throughs in 1996, some people got their food from the window, parked their cars and brought the meals inside to eat. Customers bought fewer drinks because their cars often didn't have cup holders. Now, Russians are more comfortable with drive-throughs.
As for the persistent crowds, many customers remain indifferent. "Our country's a country of lines," says Andrey Shatskiy, a 40-year-old soap-opera cinematographer, while eating lunch at the Pushkin Square restaurant. "We all got used to it."