Tuesday marked the opening of the first McDonald’s in Kazakhstan as locals gathered in droves to be among the first to get their hands on the chain’s burgers and fries.
The fast food giant set up shop in the nation’s capital, Astana. The location is also the first McDonald’s restaurant in all of Central Asia.
McDonald’s posted on Facebook that Kazakhstan was the 120th country where the company has opened a restaurant.
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the franchise was awarded to businessman Qairat Boranbaev, whose daughter is married to the grandson of the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Boranbaev owns 11 McDonald’s restaurants in Belarus.
At a press conference in late February, Boranbaev said that he invested $3.5 million into the restaurant and plans to open 15 more across the country by 2019, the second of which would open this summer.
Newsweek reported that at President Nazarbaev’s official visit to the restaurant on Monday, he said that McDonald’s would eventually employ 20,000 Kazakh citizens.
McDonald’s isn’t the first global brand to enter the Kazakh market. Starbucks opened two cafes in the country in December.