How does the restaurant business feel in the new economic reality, how much does it depend on imports and how will the menu change – in an interview with the president of the company Restoria (“Black Star Burger”, “At Khanuma”, “Chayhona No. 1” , “Schweik”, “Khutorok”) by Alexander Terentiev.
– The restaurant industry had a hard time during the pandemic, now most of the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, but many packages of financial sanctions have been introduced against Russia. How do you judge the market situation?
– The catering business has been in a fever for the last three years very strongly. And he has a fever.
A huge problem for restaurants is the staff. That is, executives who decide everything. In the restaurant area, they are even bigger than everyone else. Now it’s just a waste of staff. And this is due, of course, to the coronavirus, which simply destroyed the belief of restaurant workers in the permanence of wages and the permanence of work.
As a result, many people have left the profession. I had a bartender, a very good bartender, he became a tram. I asked him a question – “Sasha, why?”. He replied: “Very stable.” And, incidentally, a good salary. The tram will not go anywhere, it will move at any time.
And there are many such people. The business, which brought in good income to bartenders, waiters, cooks, forced them to leave. Because it is impossible to work in conditions when it is open, then closed, then possible, then impossible, then up to 6, then up to 7.
Many companies in our market went bankrupt. There are still big players who do not have one or two restaurants, but dozens. Somehow they survive.
And, most importantly, we waited for the end of the coronavirus pandemic and then the story of sanctions began.
– Probably, this is a slightly different story? At the height of the pandemic, it was simply impossible to go to restaurants.
– Yes, you can walk now, but you have to save money. Now we do not understand what will happen tomorrow. It seems to me that no one can say what will happen. And this unpredictability is causing Brown to move between staff, between suppliers, between buyers.
For example, a friend has an anniversary, 50 years old, celebrated it at home. Why; There is money. Because this is not the time for special operations and our children are dying, in my opinion, it is not worth having fun. And I know many such cases. There are virtually no banquets – the main income of restaurants.
– This is the situation in the whole industry, is there any peculiarity in the Samara area?
– You know, it’s all over the country. I do not take Moscow into account, I believe that Moscow is a country within a country. If all goes wrong in Moscow, then I do not know what will happen.
People do not want to celebrate a birthday, they do not want to celebrate. Many are gone. Many rich people have left, they have gone to summer apartments, they are probably waiting.
As for Samaras, it is difficult to modernize in the light of the policy of sanctions. Yes, tourism, to which we are accustomed, has begun to revive, we have the Volga. All this affects. But do not expect global business development here, God forbid we keep what we have.
– How do sanctions affect your business?
– This is a very broad question. Their influence is not even related to products, but to equipment. We have Russian equipment, but mainly the restaurants bought imported equipment. From refrigerators to generators. In addition, of course, problems with some of the high quality imported products we are used to – wine, of course, seafood.
In fact, the infamous import substitution we talked about did not work. Let’s say cheese. Chain restaurants have turned to their own cheese-making, including us. But they are still soft cheeses. We can provide them good quality. But hard cheeses are still the fat content of milk, cellars, storage, time. Normal parmesan starts at the age of 12.
Not to mention guilt. I recently had a gastronomic dinner, we did it with the winery “Luding”. The gastronomic dinner was called “Russian wines, Volga fish”. Now, if with the Volga fish even more or less, then with Russian wines … I do not know when we should get to the normal Russian wine. So all the guests who came there ended up buying some other wines.
Seafood … Where can I get them? Last year I tried to rely on the Crimean mussel. It turned out that the Crimean mussel seems to be there, but it is not. First, it is not enough and secondly, it is not to eat mussels, maybe for broth, but not to eat. All this is difficult.
Now we do not yet understand how these sanctions will surround us, how high the fence that is being built around us will rise. Because at the moment we are still living with these traditions, contracts that were concluded earlier. What will happen next, no one knows.
– If we talk about products, what is the share of the local, Samara, what can our manufacturers offer?
– As for the food basket, not counting alcohol, 80-90 percent is definitely ours, undoubtedly Russian. The oysters are already ours, even if they are not so delicious, but they are ours. The meat is not so high quality, but, in principle, the market has adapted.
And Samara – 50 percent This is beer, cheese, summer vegetables, chicken. In this regard, everyone came to our products.
– Have prices gone up a lot?
– Prices increased by 20 percent by rail. Moreover, if in the beginning all the vine growers, for example, took and recalculated the exchange rate of the euro at 200 rubles, then, when the euro became even cheaper than it was before the start of the special operation, they left it at 200 We ask Why? They answer that they do not see the future.
I already remove the lamb from the restaurants, because if it is of high quality, then it is insanely expensive. Mignon fillet, if you get a good one, then 1200-1400 per kilo. The salmon, without which nowhere, becomes 1400-1600 per kilo. We at Chaikhon calculated that in order to have some kind of regular labeling, this 150-180 gram salmon steak would have to be sold for 1,500 rubles.
– Do you understand how to continue living and working?
– Understanding how to keep living is, how to keep working – also. I would like to believe in a bright future, some changes. In the meantime, we change the menu.
For example, I conceived my restaurant “Prospect” as a fish tavern with Japanese oysters, with different types of tartar and carpaccio. I opened it on February 10th and on February 24th it all started. Deliveries of those products that were scheduled to be used became impossible. The only thing, I’m glad I was able to buy regular equipment, furniture, etc. – now this is very difficult.
For now, more questions. If I know everything about the pandemic, then not much right now. It is likely that in the autumn it will be clear what will happen next.
In general, it is clear so far that it is necessary to turn to cheaper products even more globally. Soon, like Mexico, we will only eat chicken.
– If we talk about your restaurants, will it be a change in the menu or in the concept in general?
– Change menu, change pricing policy, change restaurant concept. Some should be closed.
– Your restaurants operate in different sections and in different concepts. Which do you think is the most sustainable right now?
– I have a Czech brewery that makes its own beer – Schweik. It is currently the most durable, because it stands on its own product. Breweries are just the key to success now. There are problems with the raw materials, but the Belarusian malt is quite good.
Yes, the quality will change not for the better, but again there will be beer, it can be brewed. Our Zhiguli beer has been made with Belarusian malt for a long time and everyone likes it.
– There is a lot of talk now about the departure of McDonald’s, can you understand this position?
– I have a Black Star Burger project. We use better quality local products. But McDonald’s is no different – it’s a matter of technology, marketing, menus, pricing policy. He is a global player, he does not sell food, but a way of life. Children live in McDonald’s and no one can replace their child.
Although with his departure things started to go a little better for us.
– What is the average account today in Samara?
– If without alcohol, then 800-1000 rubles in my restaurants, the highest part is 1500-2000. The lowest restaurants are around 500-600, these are restaurants, not fast food, although we have an average bill of 500 rubles even on Blackstar.
– In which direction will our restaurants change? Will those who work in the premium department remain?
– You know, during the pandemic, fast food suffered more, paradoxically. Because people who are accustomed to drinking expensive wines and eating oysters have a lot of money. In Moscow, during the pandemic, the elite seafood and wine market has grown.
Now, again, it’s still hard to predict. While I do not understand the new prices either. Now I sell wine at the prices I will buy it. But the consumer does not know this and does not want to know. Therefore, no one has yet understood what will happen to prices, what will happen to the market.
Now it’s hard to say in which price segment it is best to work. I think the elite kitchen, as in a pandemic, will win. Raise, do not raise prices, people with money need the quality product they are used to. Middle-class restaurants, it seems to me, will either collapse or leave.
– How can the state support the market in this situation? Should we be talking not about direct support, but about some indirect measures, for example, to redirect tourist flows?
– Yes, it is possible to reorient the tourist flow in the domestic market. I would like to believe it. The same “Student Spring” that takes place now (interviewed May 19 – about. Volga News). Of course, students are not the kind of people who walk a lot, but I would like to see the results this week, what we will have. In March and April, sad results, they sank a lot in terms of revenue.
There is a twist to tourism in the domestic market, but then you have to complete it completely. Otherwise, now everyone will go to Turkey. Come to us, we have Shiryaevo, the Volga.