On January 31, 1990, the first McDonald’s opened it doors in the Soviet Union with a restaurant in Moscow after 14 years of navigating Soviet red tape. Over 30,000 Muscovites stood in line for hours to wait the chance to be served McDonald’s.
At the time, the Moscow location was the largest McDonald’s in the world, with seating for over 700 people and capable of serving over 15,000 patrons a day. For political reasons, McDonald’s Canada was responsible for the restaurant, with little input from the U.S. parent company — a wall display within the restaurant shows the Canadian and Soviet flags. To overcome Soviet supply problems, the company creates its own supply chain, including farms and distribution networks, inside the USSR along with a $40 million food processing center in Moscow.