Homegrown fried chicken chain replaces KFC in Russia

For many Russians, Rostic's brings back memories of the turbulent early years of transitioning to a free-market economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991

By AFP

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Konstantin Kotov, Co-founder of Smart Service company which received master franchise rights from American firm Yum!Brands for its Russian KFC restaurants that will reopen as Rostic's, takes part in a ceremony in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday. — Reuters
Konstantin Kotov, Co-founder of Smart Service company which received master franchise rights from American firm Yum!Brands for its Russian KFC restaurants that will reopen as Rostic's, takes part in a ceremony in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday. — Reuters

Published: Tue 25 Apr 2023, 4:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 25 Apr 2023, 4:50 PM

The Russian incarnation of KFC opened its first restaurant in Moscow on Tuesday after the American fast food chain exited the country amid the Kremlin's offensive in Ukraine.

The new owners of the US giant's former restaurants across Russia are resuscitating Rostic's, a brand that appeared in the tumultuous early years of post-Soviet Russia.

At the launch in central Moscow, Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of the KFC chain, was absent from the new logo, but the new colour scheme still featured the US giant's signature red and white.

The Rostic's flagship venue would welcome its first customers at 5 pm (1400 GMT).

Originally launched in 1993, Rostic's helped KFC expand in Russia over two decades. For many Russians, Rostic's brings back memories of the turbulent early years of transitioning to a free-market economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Last week, the US giant's parent company Yum Brands completed its withdrawal from Russia. The KFC business in the country has been sold to Smart Service, a local franchisee.

Neither company was immediately available for comment.

As part of the deal, Smart Service agreed to retain the company's employees in Russia, the US parent company said in a statement last week.

"Smart Service will initially convert their more than 100 KFC restaurants in Russia to Rostic's," the statement said.

"As master franchisor, Smart Service will also be responsible for working with other franchisees in Russia to rebrand to Rostic's."

With more than a thousand restaurants, KFC was the largest fast food chain in Russia.

Konstantin Kotov, who co-leads Smart Service, said that no major changes were planned to the menu or design of the new restaurants.

"Our main goal is to create as little discomfort for people as possible in getting to know the brand," Kotov told Russian business newspaper RBK Daily.

"They should simply immerse themselves in the same world that they have always had."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops to Ukraine in February 2022 triggered unprecedented sanctions and an exodus of foreign corporations, including Starbucks and McDonalds.

Former McDonald's restaurants in Russia have been renamed "Vkusno i tochka" ("Delicious. Full Stop").


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