By Jelisa Castrodale | FoodAndWine.Com
McDonald’s and Starbucks both announced they will continue to pay their employees.
McDonald’s and Starbucks have both announced that they are temporarily closing their restaurants and cafes in Russia. In a brief statement, U.S. drinks giant Coca-Cola said that it was “suspending its business” in the country, and PepsiCo has also made the decision to suspend the sale of Pepsi Cola, 7Up, and Mirinda soda in the Russian market.
In an email sent to McDonald’s employees and franchisees, CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote that the company’s “values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.” He said that after consulting with the chairman of the McDonald’s Board of Directors, Rick Hernandez, as well as the other members of the Board, the fast food giant made the decision to temporarily close all of its Russian restaurants in the “850 communities in which we operated” and suspend operations within the country.
“We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia,” he wrote. “This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia.” McDonald’s will also continue to pay “full salaries” for all of its workers in Ukraine — it has temporarily closed its 108 Ukrainian restaurants as well.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson sent a letter to the chain’s employees on Tuesday, to inform them that it would be suspending “all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products.” (The New York Times notes that in Russia, Starbucks cafes are managed by the Alshaya Group, a Kuwait City-based retail operator.)
On Tuesday, Coca-Cola released a statement announcing the suspension of its business in Russia as well. “Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” the company wrote. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”
And finally, PepsiCo also announced that it has suspended production and the sale of some PepsiCo beverages — including Pepsi Cola — in Russia. It has also suspended its operations in Ukraine “to enable our associates to seek safety for themselves and their families.” In an email, CEO Ramon Laguarta said that the company would continue to offer some non-soda products in Russia.
“As a food and beverage company, now more than ever we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business,” he wrote. “That means we have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food. By continuing to operate, we will also continue to support the livelihoods of our 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in our supply chain.”
According to the Times, PepsiCo is the largest food and beverage manufacturer in Russia, and the country makes up for around 4 percent of its annual revenue.
My heart goes out to all those who are caught in the middle of this deadly conflict,” Laguarta wrote. “As it so often does, war is falling hardest on the innocent. War is never an answer, and we join all those calling for a speedy, peaceful resolution.”