Optics are always a major consideration for despotic countries, and Russia’s recent ban on photographing its McDonald’s bootleg is no different.

  • One Vkusno & Tochka restaurant has banned customers from taking photos, Russian media reported.
  • The move follows reports that the rebranded McDonald’s sold moldy burgers and ran out of fries.
  • The chain confirmed the rule to Podyom and said it was to stop other diners from being photographed.

The rebranded McDonald’s in Russia has banned customers from taking photos or filming without permission in one of its restaurants, according to a photo published by a Russian news outlet and reported by The Moscow Times.

The photo appears to show a list of rules that diners must abide by at one restaurant in Moscow, including not using roller skates and using obscene language.

Russian outlet Podyom reported that the list was on display in the restaurant for customers to see.

A spokesperson for Vkusno & Tochka, or “Tasty and that’s it”, told Podyom they were the company’s internal rules and that the restrictions on photos related to safety and to prevent other diners from being photographed.

“Of course, we won’t prohibit people to take photos or videos at the table, but if other visitors complain, we can take measures in accordance with the rules,” the spokesperson told Podyom, per a translation by The Moscow Times.

A spokesperson told Insider that customers aren’t banned from taking photos inside stores but that the rule applied to other diners or staff members being photographed without their consent.

It’s unclear when the list of rules was published, but Podyom’s report comes just days after claims emerged that the chain served diners moldy burger buns and expired sauce. It has also stopped selling fries, which Vkusno & Tochka blamed on a potato shortage.

Alexander Govor bought the majority of Russia’s McDonald’s outlets after the burger giant abandoned the country following its invasion of Ukraine, 32 years after it first came to Russia.

The restaurants began reopening on June 12 with a new menu, logo, and name. Despite no longer selling iconic McDonald’s menu items such as the Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, and McFlurry, its CEO has said that the chain sold a record 120,000 burgers on its opening day at the flagship Moscow store.