The conflict in Ukraine has been going on for 22 days and many companies and franchises have made the decision to leave the Russian market , despite the implications this has on their operation. Sporting goods brands, hotel chains, media outlets and restaurants have left Russia.
A well-known fast food brand, however, continues to operate its more than 800 branches. This is Burger King . Restaurant Brand International (RBI) , the parent company, today issued a press release titled Burger King Shares in Russia in which it shared with the media the letter that David Shear , its president, sent to all employees to communicate the complex situation in which they find themselves.
RBI has a joint venture with three partners controlled by Alexander Kolobov (businessman with extensive experience in restaurant management and in charge of the operation of all Burger King branches in Russia) and only owns 15% of the shares, so he cannot make decisions only. In his letter Shear explains: “We contacted the main operator of the business and demanded the suspension of the operations of the Burger King restaurant in Russia. He has refused to do so.”
Faced with the impossibility of ceasing operations, the company has explored other ways, such as giving up its shares, but it is something that the contract does not allow to do immediately. RBI has suspended all corporate support for the Russian market and halted new investment, but still the restaurants continue to operate. To support those affected by the conflict, the company has made donations to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
David Shear closes his letter with a sentence that explains everything: “Would we like to suspend all Burger King operations immediately in Russia? Yes. Can we enforce a stop trading order today? No. But we want to be transparent about our actions and explain the steps we have taken to support the international business community in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its people.”