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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

McDonald's Plans to Open 40 New Stores in 2009

By Courtney Weaver / The Moscow Times

McDonald's will invest $120 million to open 40 new Russian restaurants this year, Khamzat Khasbulatov, the company's president for Russia and Eastern Europe, said Thursday.

The company opened the same number of stores here in 2008 but invested slightly less.

In January, McDonald's saw no decrease in customers or the average check size, Khasbulatov said. Sales volume grew, he added, declining to give specifics, in line with McDonald's global policy.

New restaurants will open in Penza and Astrakhan, as well as in cities where McDonald's already operates. The company will also increase its number of McCafes and look into optimizing its restaurants' breakfast service.

"Breakfast service is one of the most successful ventures we've carried out over the past few years," Khasbulatov said. "We're now looking at how to improve our restaurants' efficiency in the morning so that our sales and volumes grow."

McDonald's will not be immune to the crisis and has decided to offer more affordable menu items, Khasbulatov said.

"The crisis will definitely affect our clients and their purchasing power in ways such as inflation and unemployment," he said. "We will try to give people food that they can afford."

While the company's investment plans won't change, McDonald's may alter its marketing strategy. The company will continue hiring and paychecks won't be slashed, Khasbulatov said.

The company imports 20 percent of its food and buys or produces the rest locally. Because of the ruble's devaluation, it now pays 50 percent more for imports than it did in August, Khasbulatov said.

McDonald's opened in Russia in 1991. The flagship location on Pushkin Square is the biggest McDonalds in Europe and was the largest by sales globally in 2008, said Grigory Dimyanov, the restaurant's director.