By Paul Goble
The Russian replacement for McDonald’s, Vkusno i Tochka, has been marred by scandal because of the low quality of its food – buns are often moldy and cheeseburgers are being sold without meat, for example — and the absence of selection, an indication, Novyye izvestiya says, that in this sector too, “we cannot repeat.”
But problems with the quality of food are only a small part of the scandals surrounding this Kremlin-backed effort at import substitution, observers say (newizv.ru/news/economy/08-07-2022/ne-mozhem-povtorit-restorany-vkusno-i-tochka-prodolzhayut-nepriyatno-udivlyat-klientov).
According to several, the level of service has collapsed back to Soviet levels, with customers used to friendly clerks now facing hostile employees who seem more interested in driving people away than in winning customers for the long haul. The number of customers has declined precipitously, and malls are now requiring Vkusno i Tochka outlets to pay more.
On telegram channel Novyye izvestiya cites concludes that “all the bravada” about how easy it would be for a Russian firm to replace McDonald’s has turned out to be “a fiasco.” Not only can’t Russians “repeat,” the channel says; they can’t even come close to matching what even Russians used to bad quality and bad service had come to expect.