Moscow's Big Mak Attack

The golden arches rise over Pushkin Square

Sixteen-year-old Nadya Vanova listens intently as a customer orders a Big Mak, kartofel-fries and an ice-cream koktel, or milkshake. After punching the order into one of 29 computerized cash registers, she nods and says, "Thank you. Please come again." But assistant manager Sergei Skvortsov, 25, shakes his head unhappily as he observes her trial run. "Nyet," he tells the nervous trainee. "Try again. You must look each customer in the eye and smile."

Young Nadya is one of 605 employees chosen from 27,000 Soviet applicants who responded to a small help-wanted ad that McDonald's officials placed last November. After 14 years...

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