KFC and Pizza Hut Are Officially Pulling Out of Russia

Yum! Brands has deals to sell its Russia-based franchises to local buyers.

KFC and Pizza Hut
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg / Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Yum! Brands has announced that it is one step closer to completely exiting the Russian market, after reaching what it describes as the "advanced stages" of transferring the ownership, operating system, and franchise rights of its KFC locations to a local Russian company. Earlier this year, Yum! sold the franchise rights to its 50 Pizza Hut restaurants in the country to "a non-Yum! concept."

According to Reuters, Noi-M paid 300 million rubles ($4.92 million) for the rights to Pizza Hut; the Rosinter restaurant group, which Noi-M is connected to, also runs the Costa Coffee and T.G.I.Friday's locations in Russia. (The name of the organization or restaurant group that could be purchasing Yum's Russian KFC rights has not yet been made public.)

"This builds on the Company's prior actions to suspend operations of all company-owned restaurants, halt all investment and restaurant development efforts, and redirect any profits from Russia operations to humanitarian efforts," Yum! Brands wrote in a press release on Tuesday. "Following completion of the KFC transaction, Yum! Brands intends to fully exit from Russia."

Earlier this year, Yum! Brands donated $1 million to the Red Cross to support those affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and it also launched the Yum! Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial support to its employees in Ukraine. It also matched any donation its employees made to the International Rescue Committee, Red Cross, UNICEF, or the World Food Programme.

The first KFC opened in Russia in 1995 and, in the years since, Yum! Brands has opened around 1,000 KFC locations throughout the country — most of which, it clarifies, are "operated by independent owners under license or franchise agreements." The company had already shuttered the 70 Yum!-owned KFC restaurants in Russia.

Yum! Brands is the latest American company to announce its complete exit from Russia. Last month, Starbucks confirmed that it would "no longer have a brand presence" in the country, after suspending all of its business operations in March. In May, McDonald's also confirmed the sale of its Russian restaurants to businessman Alexander Govor, a licensee who operated 25 McDonalds in Siberia.

"The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald's to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald's values," the company said in a statement.

Coca-Cola has also pulled out of Russia, and PepsiCo has stopped the production and sale of Pepsi Cola, 7Up, and Mirinda soda in the country. Their carbonated void has been filled by Moscow-based Cola Chernogolovka, which told Reuters that it has been supplying Burger King and KFC with its sodas for the past several months. A Cola Chernogolovka spokesperson told the outlet, "We think this is far from the limit."

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