New “Russian McDonalds” gets support from government but no funding

New "Russian McDonalds" gets support from government but no funding
Andrei Konchalovsky

22 April 2015

A Russian fast food chain billed as an alternative to McDonalds has been promised support from the Russian government but will receive no financial investment, TASS reported today. Creators of Let’s Eat at Home!, the Russian filmmakers and brothers Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrey Konchalovksy, wrote a letter to the government last month asking for investment of nearly 1 billion roubles ($18.5 million) for the project.

Russia’s deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich told news agency TASS that the government “will provide the necessary support [to] overcome bureaucratic procedures, but will not invest in the project.” Referring to the project as “quite promising”, Dvorkovich added: “Risks exist, as they always do, especially with the lack of proper management experience. If they are able to attract a good management ream, then there is a chance. I hope that everything will turn out OK.”

According to last month’s letter, the goal of the chain “is to promote import substitution and the creation of alternatives to western fast food”, with between 30% and 40% of the dishes on the menu coming from regional produce.

Mikhalkov and Konchalovsky are known for railing against western popular culture. Amid mounting tensions between Russia and the west last year, Konchalovsky refused to have his latest film The Postman’s White Nights shortlisted for an Oscar, slamming the Hollywood prize as “overvalued” and a symbol of western cultural dominance.

The name Let’s Eat at Home! comes from a TV series of the same name starring actress Yulia Vysotskaya, Konchalovsky’s wife.