The signature sauce has changed and the ingredients have been tweaked, but the "Big Hit", which went on sale in Russia this week, is a tasty alternative to the McDonald's Big Mac it is replacing, several customers said.
McDonald's Corp closed its Russian restaurants soon after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine last February, eventually selling to a local licensee, Alexander Govor, who unveiled the new brand in June.
That deal imposed restrictions on the colour scheme and products that the successor chain Vkusno & tochka, or "Tasty & that's it", can use.
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Big Macs, McFlurry's and the Golden Arches were all a no go, as was the McDonald's-style Big Mac sauce.
"They've completely revamped it," student Mikhail Proskunenkov told Reuters on Wednesday 1 March. "They've added more greens, changed the sauce. In principle, it's cool and different, but I still miss the old Big Mac."
Another customer, Edgar Vardanyan, was lavish in his praise: "I can 100% say that it has got better. I think the ingredients have changed a little, the sauce has become tastier."
Vkusno & tochka CEO Oleg Paroev said, when announcing the new product in December, that the sauce and layout of ingredients would change.
But his company's strategy has also been to focus on continuity, with advertising slogans such as "The same double cheeseburger" and the chain's new logo - a stylised burger with two fries - resembling the letter 'M'.
Not Everyone Sold
Not everyone was sold on the new burger.
"The sauce, which was the Big Mac's main quality, has become a little more sweet and sour," said Vladimir, a student.
"And the bun has basically got worse. It has become softer somehow, not so flavourful, and so the Big Hit falls apart more as you eat it."
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