McDonald's in Russia
By Donald Jordan
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev started a new programme of the reformation of the USSR, Perestroyka. It was aimed to improve the overall technological and industrial base hoping to increase the quality of life for many citizens in the country.
The openness of the Soviet Union towards the Western world led to the new stage of relationships between the country and the Western companies. One of first firms interested in the Soviet market was McDonald's.
The negotiations took a long period and finally in April 1988 the agreement was reached, creating the largest joint venture ever made between a food company and the Soviet Union. Thanks to this cooperation, USSR gained the access to the newest technologies. Right from the beginning, the key points of McDonald's were providing the new culture of the service to the country: cleanness, very fast and polite customer servicing. A huge amount of the specialists from such countries like USA, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany supported the creation of the first fast food restaurant in the USSR. Equipment from Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, and United Kingdom was delivered for the establishment of a very new system of doing business.
However, there were many problems faced by McDonald's. Since the Soviet machinery lagged fifteen to twenty years behind Western technology, new machinery from Holland was used to harvest the potatoes used to make French fries.
According to the Dutch consultants, it was possible to accelerate the process of the adaptation of the Western methods in the Soviet agricultural sector. A huge problem of the size of the potatoes was solved by implementation of a new variety of this vegetable, so that the start of production of big size French-fries was possible.
The training of the Soviet management personnel in the United States enabled the transfer of practical knowledge between two countries. The...
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