Kazakh McDonald's closes as war hits supply chain

STORY: Workers removed McDonald's famous golden arches in Kazakhstan's city Almaty on Friday (January 6).

That after the fast food giant's local business appeared to fall victim to collateral damage from the Russia-Ukraine war.

The brand's exit from the Central Asian nation of 20 million divided opinion among onlookers near one of the Almaty restaurants.

Asked whether she was going to miss it, local resident Karina agreed.

"Of course, it was one of the nicest places where I used to spend time with my friends."

Proud of their meat-focused cuisine, Kazakhs expressed incredulity that McDonald's Kazakh licensee, Food Solutions KZ, could not source its beef patties locally.

And instead imported them from Russia until the war forced it to stop and ultimately shut down.

Though industry insiders say certificates and audits required by the U.S. brand were expensive and lengthy.

And local meat producers did not want to bother with them.

"I doubt any other company will be able to compete with McDonald's in Kazakhstan at the moment as no other fast food chain can repeat the menu that McDonald's had for the same price."

Food Solutions did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

McDonald's said its agreement with the licensee had been terminated but did not answer questions about the reasons.

The Kazakh company said on Thursday (December 5) it would soon reopen its restaurants under a new brand due to "supply issues."

Many Kazakh businesses have faced supply problems in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Western sanctions against Moscow that followed.

Neighboring Russia is Kazakhstan's main trading partner.