Burger King's Russian operator 'refuses' to close restaurants over Ukraine invasion

18 March 2022, 06:17 | Updated: 18 March 2022, 08:17

The owner of Burger King has said the operator of its 800 stores in Russia has "refused" to close them.
The owner of Burger King has said the operator of its 800 stores in Russia has "refused" to close them. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Russian operator of Burger King has refused to close its 800 restaurants in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The president of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which owns Burger King and has operated its restaurants in Russia for a decade in a joint venture which includes Alexander Kolobov, said the company was attempting to withdraw from the Russian market.

However, "complicated" agreements with overseas partners meant it was unable to walk away.

RBI president David Shear wrote in an open letter to employees: "We contacted the main operator of the business and demanded the suspension of Burger King restaurant operations in Russia. He has refused to do so.

"We suspended all corporate support for the Russian market, including operations, marketing, and supply chain support in addition to refusing approvals for new investment and expansion."

Mr Shear added that any changes "would ultimately require the support of Russian authorities on the ground and we know that practically will not happen any time soon".

Read more: Government 'made aware' of P&O's mass sacking on Wednesday but 'didn’t tell anyone'

Read more: Another £145 hike to energy bills in October will leave 14.5m Brits in the dark and cold

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle reflects on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to the House

The joint venture in the east, which RBI owns 15 per cent of, also includes a Ukrainian investment fund and VTB Capital - an affiliate of Russia's second-largest financial institution VTB Bank.

VTB Bank is one of the banks to have sanctioned by the UK, the US and several European countries over the invasion.

Mr Shear said: "We committed to redirecting any profits we receive from the business, including our ownership stake, to the United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) and made an immediate donation of 1 million dollars (£760,000) toward that commitment. We've also worked with franchisees from more than 25 countries to distribute 2 million dollars (£1.5m) of free meal coupons for Burger King restaurants to NGOs supporting Ukrainian refugees."

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald's and Starbucks are among the food and drink chains to have suspended business in Russia.

It comes in response to the country's invasion in Ukraine, which is showing few signs of slowing down.

Peace talks between the two countries are ongoing, with both sides suggesting progress is slowly being made.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Thomas Matthew Crooks pictured in his high school year book from 2022

Thomas Matthew Crooks: Everything we know about the 'misfit' gunman described as 'bullied loner’

King Charles has sent a private letter to Donald Trump after he was shot in the ear

King Charles sends private message of support to Donald Trump after former president survived assassination attempt

Gareth Southgate after England's defeat against Spain

Gareth Southgate tipped for new honour as his future remains in the balance following Euro's heartbreak

Jay Slater's mother condemns 'vile' conspiracies in statement a month on from teen's disappearance in Tenerife

Jay Slater's mum slams 'vile' conspiracies a month on from teen's disappearance - as new search team land in Tenerife

Tributes have been paid to Shannen Doherty after her death from cancer aged 53

Tributes paid to Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty as she dies aged 53 following breast cancer battle

The victims are named as Albert Alfonso, 62, and Paul Longworth, 71 (middle and right)

Pictured: Two men, 62 and 71, whose remains were found in suitcases in Bristol

Ian Cameron, 74, was discovered at his German home on Friday evening

British former head designer at Rolls-Royce, 74, found 'stabbed to death on his doorstep'

Donald Trump's fist bump image has been seen around the world in the aftermath of an attempted assassination.

Trump's behaviour in aftermath of assassination attempt has 'motivated' Republicans, former Ambassador tells LBC

Man charged with double murder after bodies discovered in two suitcases in Bristol - as victims named

Man charged with double murder after bodies discovered in two suitcases in Bristol - as victims named

'I’m supposed to be dead’: Trump breaks silence following assassination bid

'I’m supposed to be dead’: Donald Trump breaks silence following assassination bid

King Charles and Queen Camilla will not visit New Zealand during whistle-stop tour of Australia and Samoa

King Charles and Queen Camilla will not visit New Zealand during whistle-stop tour of Australia and Samoa

Donald Trump was shot at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania yesterday

Gunman behind Donald Trump’s assassination attempt 'had explosives in his car' and used firearm 'purchased by father'

President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

'We're not enemies': Biden calls for unity after Trump assassination attempt as he delivers rare speech from Oval Office

Prince William and Prince George at the Euro 2024 final

Prince William and Prince George put on animated display as they watch rollercoaster Euro 2024 final against Spain

Prince William offered a consoling message after England's loss

'It just wasn’t meant to be': Prince William offers consoling message after England's loss in Euro 2024 final

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice

Amanda Abbington recalls 'tough and horrible' Strictly experience as she was left 'vomiting and crying' after rehearsals