The biggest American food brands have been the target of criticism on social networks as of this weekend because of the maintenance of their activities in Russia in the context of the war waged by the country in Ukraine.
While Levi’s and Netflix have announced the suspension of their sales and services in Vladimir Putin’s country, other industry behemoths are reluctant to take a stand.
From this Sunday, March 6, the hashtags BoycottMCDonalds and #BoycottCocaCola flourished on Twitter, with many calls from citizens to boycott the two huge American companies. The objective is to promote the “soft power” of consumers, capable of changing a channel’s policy simply by modifying its consumption habits.
“McDonald’s derives 9% of its revenue from Russia where it has 847 outlets. As long as they continue to profit from murdering Ukrainians, I will not buy their blood burgers. Spread the word. Boycotts make a difference,” said a user on Twitter on Monday.
Additionally, all 847 McDonald’s outlets in Russia are owned by the American company, with a few exceptions, while the majority of the firm’s stores around the world are owned by franchisees. The situation is a real dilemma for the brand: opt for short-term profits or favor its image over the long term.
A COMPLEX ORGANIZATION CHART
The complex organizational chart of these large companies has never helped to make delicate decisions of this type, against a backdrop of geopolitics. “I don’t think it’s as simple as saying can you just withdraw from Russia. They’re complicated businesses and there’s a lot to consider, but right now the reputational risk could really affect their stock price, so they may not have a choice in the future.”, analyzed Kathleen Brooks, director of Minerva Analysis, on the BBC’s Today program.
However, even though its 130 cafes in Russia are owned by a Kuwaiti conglomerate called Alshaya, Starbucks has pledged to donate any contribution from its business in the country to the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.
In full expansion in Russia, with more than 1,000 KFC restaurants and 50 Pizza Hut brands franchised or owned by major owners in the territory, the Yum! Brands announced on Monday the suspension of all its investments in the country and the transfer of all profits made in Russia to humanitarian operations. However, the group’s plan was originally to create nearly 100 KFC restaurants on Russian territory each year.