The current situation is unprecedented. What difficulties did the catering and club business face? Rising prices, breaking supply chains?
Of course now the market is a bit hectic and that is normal. Any changes always lead to a certain degree of instability in the market – the supply of products, equipment, etc. But one way or another, the market is adapting to the new conditions. Some products will become a little more expensive due to logistics and the course, what was already expensive can become even more expensive, but will also enter the menu if there is no alternative.
In general, we try to stay in the same price range that is comfortable for our audience. Yes, for that you need to edit some dishes and menus, refocusing on local products. But this trend appeared much earlier. As for the equipment, you can buy everything you need in Turkey. In terms of staff and salaries, we try to keep rates at current levels and not fire anyone.
Are there any positive elements in the situation? The complication of traveling to Europe will force many Russians to stay in Russia this year – can this help the domestic ferret somehow?
In view of the limited supply in the near future in the fashion industry, in the foreign tourism industry and other entertainment, it seems to me that gastronomy can even win. The Russians who took money abroad will spend it here. As a result, Russian restaurant companies, hoteliers and other related industries will benefit.
We all remember what an explosion it was in St. Petersburg after the restrictions were lifted in 2020. And this year, tourists will go back to St. Petersburg, where we recently opened the Red Box, and the construction of the Magadan restaurant in Flying Dutchman is already in full swing. as well as the design of restaurants in which Georgy Troyan and Anton Kovalkov will become chefs. In Sochi, Gelendzhik and other cities.
How will the sanctions regime affect your projects abroad? Will you continue?
Given the fact that my main projects are in Turkey, which has remained on our list of friendly countries, the sanctions will not affect the development of these projects in any way. The Novikov restaurant in Istanbul is doing well, we are waiting for the start of the tourist season to reopen projects in Bodrum.
We have many of them there: Novikov Bodrum for lovers of Asian cuisine, Novikov Italy for lovers of Italian cuisine, Heliport Lounge – a disco at the helipad – the best place for dancing with a 360 degree view of the Marina and GQ Bar, located between in luxury iconic shops and boutiques. We are exploring new markets and actively selling franchises, so we intend to continue our international expansion. The Avocado Queen will appear in Abu Dhabi and Muscat, the capital of Oman.
Since we are staying at home this year, which cities in Russia should a gastronomist go to?
A gastronomic tourist, of course, has to go to those cities where there are Anton Pinsky restaurants (laughs). These are St. Petersburg, Sochi, Krasnodar will open soon, as well as other areas where our franchise projects are located, for example: Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod, Tula and others. By the way, I recommend you to go to Yerevan – we have the Avocado Queen there and, in general, Armenia is a wonderful country friendly to us.
You worked very carefully with franchisees in the regions. In the current circumstances, the chances of your projects appearing in regional centers have decreased or, conversely, more?
I do not think this situation affects the development and approach of our selection of franchisees in the regions. We still put quality first, so it is unlikely that anything will change in this situation.
You work on many projects together with the legendary restaurant Arkady Novikov. And not only do you work, but you have repeatedly managed to convince him and prove that your vision is the right one. For example, when they escalated projects that he thought were not networked: Cheese Factory, Sausage Shop, Magadan … How did you do it? Are you a genius of negotiation?
I’m not a genius. It’s hard to call yourself a “genius” – it’s at least indecent. But with regard to this example in particular, then, most likely, in our collaboration with Arkady Anatolyevich, I somehow managed to prove to him that, at least, it is worth a try. You know how it is – if you win, no one talks about how it was and so on. So.
Are you the only restaurant that exclusively feeds Spartak hockey and football? What are the characteristics of working with a sports team? Are there differences in the menu of footballers and hockey players?
Yes, if we are talking about catering services to Spartak football and hockey fans and athletes. The peculiarity of the work of a sports team is that the team has a nutritionist. Respectively, their menu is part of both the training process and the post-race recovery, so, of course, this is not a restaurant approach, but a scientific approach to nutrition.
Of course, there are differences between hockey players and soccer players. Because footballers are thinner and more physical, they are thinner and hockey players are stronger. Therefore, in their diet there should be different sets at different times of the appropriate combinations of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
You have been a Spartak fan since you were little. Is it more of a professional or personal story?
In business, the main thing is to separate business from personal, otherwise it will not be a business, but a game. As for working with Spartak, of course, this is primarily a business. But, of course, my football passions, especially in the negotiation process, mattered.
Tell us about the project with Sber Kids City. How was this collaboration born? What is your role?
As for Kids City, it was a project I did a few years ago. Its essence is not just entertainment, but education through play. And while he was already working, I read an interview where a Sberbank representative said that they want to grow in one of their areas of work towards educating children.
But not a boring ordinary education, but one that would be interesting for modern children. And it seemed to me that my work is wonderful, because it allows you to integrate the entire Sberbank ecosystem and pass on to children that learning can be done in interesting ways and playfully.
Tell us about your new image projects: AVA with Istomin and Losev, Lotus Room construction site, Red Box with Timati.
Patrika has become a logical continuation of AVA with excellent chefs – Vitaly Istomin and Artem Losev. It seems to us that the Patricki restaurant was just missing the Patricki restaurant, and with me and such chefs – all together this is the personification of this Patrick movement.
We opened the Red Box with Timati at the same time in St. Petersburg and Moscow. And they opened it with great success – there were queues, when everyone was in recession in March, we ourselves did not expect that. Therefore, we will create and develop this collaboration, we will make deliveries based on RedBox and in the very near future we will announce another joint project with Timati, also a network, but not Asian, but Mediterranean.
Another new project is Folk on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, a kind of Caucasian comfort food. We opened it in collaboration with the former head of a restaurant group, Dmitry Romanov, a very ambitious young man, and with a very talented chef, Volodya Chistikov. It seems to me that this trio of us will “make noise” and Folk is proof of that – we opened the very, very, very, very good time, when everyone was just reading telegram channels and not going to restaurants, and yet we see that the restaurant has acquired the necessary dynamics. What happens next? Further more!