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Jas
12-07-2012, 14:25
I don't know much about stuff but I do know about the restaurant industry having worked in that since I was 11 (don't worry, it was just helping out).
And I can cook.
So I was thinking about maybe opening an Indian (well Pakistani actually) restaurant, but it has to be Indiski Kuchniya to have a remote chance of taking hold.
As a kind of dream, out in the provinces, there are suchi bars, there are Kitayski joints, but nothing Indian. Makes you think. My dream is to maybe open an indian restaurant out here. I don't think it's megabucks- it's just my partner is a kill joy and thinks I'd lose everything I ever save up due to corruption, the mafia, bureaucracy etc etc. I don't know... I don't like that level of pessimism.

DavidB
12-07-2012, 14:36
The restaurant business is capital intensive, and it's hard to know if your concept will be successful in advance. But if it's something you enjoy, why not?

I think corruption would be a problem due to the fact that it's a public-facing business. However, other companies manage, so you should be able to as well. Sometimes being a foreigner can help because you can pretend to not understand what the inspectors are telling you. You've also got your embassy to fall back on in case someone threatens you - nobody, no matter how powerful they are, wants an international scandal on their hands. Russians don't have that kind of protection. But I think it would only be really useful if you're in a city where there is a British embassy.

Maybe Benedikt can tell you about the regulations, because he's a very experienced chef and has worked in Russia for a long time.

Jas
12-07-2012, 14:47
Thanks David, it's uplifting to be on this site somehow. Western people even if something is really hard tend to say, "Work on it and maybe you could give it a go."
That's a bit different from an outright 'nyet'.
I wud like to work here cos in the winter months especially it might be a bit boring for me and stuff just in the flat alone. I also wudn't mind working in a restauarnt, even if I wud be getting only 10,000 roubles. I wud really be getting experience, studying stuf like supply issues, and customer preferences.
But yes, I know I have a long way to go. Working wud be a start, however.

Nobbynumbnuts
12-07-2012, 16:34
I'm a chef and spent around 5 years working in the provinces of Russia as well as Moscow.

Firstly, i don't want to pour cold water on your idea but i'd like to give you my honest opinion. It's free and you don't have to take any notice, do you? ;)

Indian and especially Pakistani cuisine would be a hard sell to Russians. They're not generally good with spicy and unfamiliar food.
Are you from the sub continent and do you have experience with that type of food?
If you were in a large city you might be able to attract enough adventurous customers who would be interested in the novelty factor and come to try it. But my guess is you would be working hard to attract customers and overcome Russian's preconceived ideas and prejudices.
If you were to go ahead with it, my advice would be to have more familiar dishes on the menu as well. Might be difficult to get a table of four, for example to come if one person didn't fancy Indian food.

Helping out in a restaurant is very different from owning/running one, especially in a foreign country like Russia.

If you have a Russian partner it might help to put the business in their name and use them when dealing with the authorities. A lot of what you hear about the mafia is overstated these days.
Corruption is definitely a issue and that's why i suggest having your partner deal with the official paperwork and negotiations. Bureaucracy is a pain in the a*se in Russia but again, your partner can help with this.
Think carefully about the concept first before you commit.

Best of luck.

Jas
12-07-2012, 17:18
Hi,

Thanks for sharing your insight. Yes, I am of PK heritage and am familiar with that cuisine and its preparation.
From my experience, Pakistani-Indian food in the UK is not exactly as we prepare and eat in in South Asia. There's more coloring, more oil, and much less spice, or different combos of spices. It's anglizised asian food for the UK high street. I kid you not... what guys are eating on a Friday night at their local curry house is not exactly what we are eating at home, or in South Asia.
That wud be me approach to russian customers; not bland, but hearty and tasty.
I have made some kebab here for guests and they reckoned it was better than shashlik! I think Russians wud like naan bread and tameez, and tandoori is quite mild. I'm not suggesting 'curried pilmini' but i think there are ways to adapt asian food- and that's what's been done in the UK- very successfully.
But you're right, Russians don't seem to like spicy stuff, so chili chicken might be out.... but baltis wud be ok. Anyhow...
My experience is both in the kitchen and with clients, taking orders, making sure they're ok and happy. My management experience includes dealing with suppliers, and shift organization as well as handling parties. I'm not saying I'm a Vatel graduate, but I know me way around an Indian-Pakistani restaurant.
My partner is so so so risk adverse and we have very little money between us but I do feel this idea has potential somehow.

FatAndy
12-07-2012, 17:25
Jas, when you arrive to Moscow, visit Darbar restaurant on Leninsky, local Indians recommend it:
http://www.darbar.ru/contacts.html - where

Menus:
http://www.darbar.ru/menu_darbars.pdf
http://www.darbar.ru/special_menu.pdf

Nobbynumbnuts
12-07-2012, 17:50
Hi,

Thanks for sharing your insight. Yes, I am of PK heritage and am familiar with that cuisine and its preparation.
From my experience, Pakistani-Indian food in the UK is not exactly as we prepare and eat in in South Asia. There's more coloring, more oil, and much less spice, or different combos of spices. It's anglizised asian food for the UK high street. I kid you not... what guys are eating on a Friday night at their local curry house is not exactly what we are eating at home, or in South Asia.
That wud be me approach to russian customers; not bland, but hearty and tasty.
I have made some kebab here for guests and they reckoned it was better than shashlik! I think Russians wud like naan bread and tameez, and tandoori is quite mild. I'm not suggesting 'curried pilmini' but i think there are ways to adapt asian food- and that's what's been done in the UK- very successfully.
But you're right, Russians don't seem to like spicy stuff, so chili chicken might be out.... but baltis wud be ok. Anyhow...
My experience is both in the kitchen and with clients, taking orders, making sure they're ok and happy. My management experience includes dealing with suppliers, and shift organization as well as handling parties. I'm not saying I'm a Vatel graduate, but I know me way around an Indian-Pakistani restaurant.
My partner is so so so risk adverse and we have very little money between us but I do feel this idea has potential somehow.

Jas, i agree with you 100% that Indian/Pakistani food prepared and served in the UK bears little resemblance to that served on the subcontinent. I worked in New Delhi so i saw first hand the differences.

There are definitely similarities between Plov and biriyani as well, for example and the tandoori and grill items could work.
You obviously know a bit about the cuisine and it's a good idea to stick with what you know but i think you'd still need to market the concept aggressively to make it work.

In the restaurant business we're not only selling food, the concept is just as important. You'll have to sell the idea of eating in an Indian/Pakistani restaurant to Russians. In my opinion, that's not going to be easy.
Your experience dealing with customers (do you speak Russian?) will be vital if you're to be successful in selling the idea but if your investing your life savings in the project i would listen to your partner.

Jas
13-07-2012, 11:07
Andy, yes, I will be sure to visit Darbar when I get to Moscow. I plan to do a kind of survey and check the menus of as many indian restaurants as I can.
Stuff like decor also..... very important. I envisage lots of South Asian bling:
some statues, wooden panels, mock gold sidings etc, and even a gold sprayed elephant.
From my experience, bling, no matter how kitschy really does attract customers.

Yes, Nobby, I speak Russian. I would want to be close to guests. Back in the UK, I never actually minded the 'dreaded' Fri- Sat 8.30pm-2.30am stint. Most refused it point blank and left it to the guys. You learn a lot though...everything on how to deal with getting groped by a bunch of rugby thugs, to hen parties that turn into cat fights, and ofcourse- drunks who have a hideous tendency to want to lure you into their confidence just as they puke. Can't remember how many times I had to call the police! In the end, our restaurant become a regular police stop, they'd just poke their head in and say, "Any troble, Jas?"
Not easy in the UK either.... not by any means!!

Nobbynumbnuts
13-07-2012, 14:45
Andy, yes, I will be sure to visit Darbar when I get to Moscow. I plan to do a kind of survey and check the menus of as many indian restaurants as I can.
Stuff like decor also..... very important. I envisage lots of South Asian bling:
some statues, wooden panels, mock gold sidings etc, and even a gold sprayed elephant.
From my experience, bling, no matter how kitschy really does attract customers.

Yes, Nobby, I speak Russian. I would want to be close to guests. Back in the UK, I never actually minded the 'dreaded' Fri- Sat 8.30pm-2.30am stint. Most refused it point blank and left it to the guys. You learn a lot though...everything on how to deal with getting groped by a bunch of rugby thugs, to hen parties that turn into cat fights, and ofcourse- drunks who have a hideous tendency to want to lure you into their confidence just as they puke. Can't remember how many times I had to call the police! In the end, our restaurant become a regular police stop, they'd just poke their head in and say, "Any troble, Jas?"
Not easy in the UK either.... not by any means!!

Your right, bling sells big time in Russia. The Russians are into 'over the top' interiors. Just don't let your budget run away with it. ;)

Good idea to visit Indian restaurants in Moscow but remember there is a large Indian community in the city so what you see on the menu might not be truly reflective of what would work in the provinces.

Can you tell us where you are thinking of opening?

Nobbynumbnuts
13-07-2012, 14:47
.....just thought. Contact a member called Bari on this site. He's Indian, been in Russia since the year dot and he's in the restaurant business. Nice guy too.

Jas
13-07-2012, 17:42
Hi Nobby,

I'm in Kazan. I think that's part of the problem cos the place is sort of multicutural but tends to look towards Turkey somehow. That seems to be how they get their required dosage of 'easternism.' One thing I feel sure wud work in Tatarstan is the humble donner kebab!
But a ''Turkish'' kebab house wasn't exactly what I had in mind...

FatAndy
13-07-2012, 20:13
Hi Nobby,

I'm in Kazan. I think that's part of the problem cos the place is sort of multicutural but tends to look towards Turkey somehow. That seems to be how they get their required dosage of 'easternism.' One thing I feel sure wud work in Tatarstan is the humble donner kebab!
But a ''Turkish'' kebab house wasn't exactly what I had in mind...

Walk along river and talk to people in that small riverbank cafes. It's like doing step-by-step.
Or go to some of posh hotels of Kazan' (not just near Kreml' but 400-1000 m apart), talk to chefs, it's like jumping but more risky.

Nobbynumbnuts
13-07-2012, 22:28
Hi Nobby,

I'm in Kazan. I think that's part of the problem cos the place is sort of multicutural but tends to look towards Turkey somehow. That seems to be how they get their required dosage of 'easternism.' One thing I feel sure wud work in Tatarstan is the humble donner kebab!
But a ''Turkish'' kebab house wasn't exactly what I had in mind...

Well, at least you're in a beautiful city.
There are a lot of Muslims in Kazan as i understand and Indian and Pakistani food is Muslim friendly, as you know. Have you thought of offering Halal cuisine?
Also, there are some Krishnas there too. Not sure exactly what they eat but could be well worth your while contacting these groups.

candy888
13-07-2012, 22:41
russsians love coffee.it would definitely click!


:12035:










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don't cry bec its over,smile bec it happened.

Suuryaa
14-07-2012, 17:45
There is a Krishna community in Kazan.

yakspeare
14-07-2012, 18:08
Well since you are from the UK- the English palate is quite similar to the russian one in many ways-hearty,meaty food that keeps you warm-not rich on flavour but keeps you well fed.

Personally, I think someone who started selling English meat pies and sausage rolls and/or British fish and chips-would probably make a killing.

aamir
14-07-2012, 18:18
Hi Nobby,

I'm in Kazan. I think that's part of the problem cos the place is sort of multicutural but tends to look towards Turkey somehow. That seems to be how they get their required dosage of 'easternism.' One thing I feel sure wud work in Tatarstan is the humble donner kebab!
But a ''Turkish'' kebab house wasn't exactly what I had in mind...

Hi i am in Moscow more then 12 years,i am in cooking field more then 18 years,currently i am working in Anglo-American schaool as chef,i would like to share with you my knowle:uk:dge ,i am free till 13 August summer holiday,as my knowledge Russian love good food healthy food and good Quality, Currently Russia has five times fewer fast food restaurants than Britain,

Nobbynumbnuts
14-07-2012, 18:23
Well since you are from the UK- the English palate is quite similar to the russian one in many ways-hearty,meaty food that keeps you warm-not rich on flavour but keeps you well fed.

Personally, I think someone who started selling English meat pies and sausage rolls and/or British fish and chips-would probably make a killing.

A Brit opened a fish and chip shop in Moscow back in the 90's. It bombed. ;)

yakspeare
14-07-2012, 18:39
A Brit opened a fish and chip shop in Moscow back in the 90's. It bombed. ;)

that mens nothing. a) he could have no business acumen b) it was the 90s.

we have 3 english pubs in krasnodar and an irish bar about to open. the food is semi authentic but lacks simple things like fish and chips.

Nobbynumbnuts
14-07-2012, 18:51
that mens nothing. a) he could have no business acumen b) it was the 90s.

we have 3 english pubs in krasnodar and an irish bar about to open. the food is semi authentic but lacks simple things like fish and chips.

Fish and chips are a cultural thing with us Brits. We are used to it, grew up with it. It's difficult to expect Russians to have the same feelings for it.
Fish and chip shops back home rely on local business, mostly takeout. How many people, even expats, are going to cross Moscow and back to go to a fish and chip shop?
That's why it didn't work.

People will cross Moscow to go to a pub to socialise and while they are there many will eat. There's a menu with a wide variety of dishes on it. One being fish and chips.
The pub couldn't survive on the fish and chip sales alone, neither could a restaurant.

aamir
14-07-2012, 18:52
A Brit opened a fish and chip shop in Moscow back in the 90's. It bombed. ;)

Open a pure vegetarian restaurant, nowdays Russian love yoga and vege,in Moscow very less pure vegetarian restaurant,eat healthy be healthy earn healthy !:10806:

Nobbynumbnuts
14-07-2012, 18:58
Open a pure vegetarian restaurant, nowdays Russian love yoga and vege,in Moscow very less pure vegetarian restaurant,eat healthy be healthy earn healthy !:10806:

A far better option in my view but i believe there are a few of them now around the city.
I reckon this will be an ever growing market for the restaurant business in Russia for the future.

yakspeare
14-07-2012, 19:13
Fish and chips are a cultural thing with us Brits. We are used to it, grew up with it. It's difficult to expect Russians to have the same feelings for it.
Fish and chip shops back home rely on local business, mostly takeout. How many people, even expats, are going to cross Moscow and back to go to a fish and chip shop?
That's why it didn't work.

People will cross Moscow to go to a pub to socialise and while they are there many will eat. There's a menu with a wide variety of dishes on it. One being fish and chips.
The pub couldn't survive on the fish and chip sales alone, neither could a restaurant.

who cares about expats in kazan? all my russian friends who have been to oz or the uk have raved about fish and chips and even sms me about it. look near a bazaar for the amount of battered food russians eat.

Nobbynumbnuts
14-07-2012, 20:02
who cares about expats in kazan? all my russian friends who have been to oz or the uk have raved about fish and chips and even sms me about it. look near a bazaar for the amount of battered food russians eat.

Most important aspect of opening a business is to understand the market you're moving into.
I'm trying to tell you that there is not enough interest from Russians to support a fish and chip shop.
Even less chance of it working now when so many pubs have opened with it on the menu.

aamir
14-07-2012, 22:47
Obviously, Moscow’s restaurants make a good profit. I suppose it does not depend on their place, because if you have a restaurant in the centre of Moscow you will have a high price for rent. So your overheads can be more than your profit.
In spite of this we have a lot of cafes and restaurants in the middle of the centre. I think that the best restaurants are there.
Actually, if you are the best chef it does not mean that your restaurant will be successful, because you must be a good manager. We have a really good chef in Moscow. He opened a lot of restaurants and I suppose that all of his projects were successful. I think he is a talented person. I suppose 30% of Moscow’s restaurants belong to him. He has good experience and is an excellent example for people,:uk:

aamir
14-07-2012, 22:50
There are many restaurants in Moscow, but if you want to open your restaurant you have you think about people. What can you suggest to them? For example, maybe it will be a respected brand or it will be a pretty café where people can relax and be in a good mood. Perhaps you will open a fashionable restaurant. Anyhow the cuisine in your restaurant must be delicious. So you have to find the main idea of your restaurant.

yakspeare
15-07-2012, 19:20
Most important aspect of opening a business is to understand the market you're moving into.
I'm trying to tell you that there is not enough interest from Russians to support a fish and chip shop.
Even less chance of it working now when so many pubs have opened with it on the menu.

i don't live in moscow but i have never seen english style fish and chips anywhere i have been in russia.

Nobbynumbnuts
15-07-2012, 20:03
i don't live in moscow but i have never seen english style fish and chips anywhere i have been in russia.


Not sure exactly what your saying but just because you haven't seen it anywhere doesn't mean that there's a market for it.
I have seen it on pub menus in the provinces, now and then but it usually has little to do with the original. Which, brings me to the point that if you were to serve up true British Fish and chips would the locals except it? For example, true Caesar salad doesn't have chicken in it. Try telling that to a Russian!
Traditional fish and chips, the way it should be served is not as easy to make as many people think. Would be certainly be even harder for a Russian to master.

A fish and chip shop in Kazan or Samara would make about as much sense as a fish on a bike, in my opinion.

Jas
16-07-2012, 12:44
I think Russians get 'french fries' and associate them with McDonalds.
But that doesn't seem to correspond to the British love of chips.
I made chips at home, proper chips, not crinkle things from a bag, just normal chips.
My partner totally didn't get it.
"That's not how to cook potatoes."
"Yes, it is."
Partner has totally other ideas: dice potatoes, add with mushrooms, add salt, and then tons of sunflower oil, put on lid and simmer.
I've never seen anything remotely done like that in the UK!

Nobbynumbnuts
16-07-2012, 22:59
I think Russians get 'french fries' and associate them with McDonalds.
But that doesn't seem to correspond to the British love of chips.
I made chips at home, proper chips, not crinkle things from a bag, just normal chips.
My partner totally didn't get it.
"That's not how to cook potatoes."
"Yes, it is."
Partner has totally other ideas: dice potatoes, add with mushrooms, add salt, and then tons of sunflower oil, put on lid and simmer.
I've never seen anything remotely done like that in the UK!

That's exactly what i'm saying.
Different countries have different approaches to how food is prepared and served. In fact it's not just the restaurant business, it's in all areas of business. Local knowledge is key.
No one is saying one way is better then the other, they're just different. IF you don't understand those differences and are not prepared for them, you go under.

loseki
17-07-2012, 23:15
A lot of good stuff's been said already, let me add a few pennies:

We russians are conservative, yes indeed. No one minds european style cuisines (french, italian, etc). We like simple peasant food (german, czech). We're fond of place with booze (irish and english pubs, beer restaurants). We like middle eastern ones (Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan) for they remind us about Sovet Union times and are cheap and nourishing enough usually.

Everything else is for expats and curious ones. And I don't think you'll find plenty of these in province. Even in Moscow you can take a simple test: run through several not-so-popular-cuisine's restaurants (moroccan, serbian, etc) and count visitors.

Remington
17-07-2012, 23:52
That's exactly what i'm saying.
Different countries have different approaches to how food is prepared and served. In fact it's not just the restaurant business, it's in all areas of business. Local knowledge is key.
No one is saying one way is better then the other, they're just different. IF you don't understand those differences and are not prepared for them, you go under.

That's what happened with Taco Bell in the 90's. Russians didn't know anything about Mexican foods during that time and it failed miserably. If they tried again today they might succeed in proper locations throughout Moscow. Wendy's and Burger King came to Moscow and they're doing well. Who knows if Taco Bell could be next to re-enter the Russian market. :rolleyes:

FYI... I used to like Taco Bell and I worked there as a cook in the 90's. They had natural meat cooked in the large square pan but now it's 30 percent meat mixed with something else and pre-packed in the bag at the suppliers. Taco Bell crew just throw the meat bag in the boiling water for 20 minutes before serving. :yuk: Taco Bell culture have changed drastically and I hated it. Never ate at Taco Bell again after they changed everything in the 90's.

I used to go to work at Taco Bell at 5am in the morning to prepare fresh meat, vegetables and fry corn shell tortillas. Everything was done naturally and fresh. Now everything is precooked, prepared and shipped from the suppliers.

Anyway... definitely important to know the market well before selling something or go under with debts.

Nobbynumbnuts
18-07-2012, 01:34
That's what happened with Taco Bell in the 90's. Russians didn't know anything about Mexican foods during that time and it failed miserably. If they tried again today they might succeed in proper locations throughout Moscow. Wendy's and Burger King came to Moscow and they're doing well. Who knows if Taco Bell could be next to re-enter the Russian market. :rolleyes:

FYI... I used to like Taco Bell and I worked there as a cook in the 90's. They had natural meat cooked in the large square pan but now it's 30 percent meat mixed with something else and pre-packed in the bag at the suppliers. Taco Bell crew just throw the meat bag in the boiling water for 20 minutes before serving. :yuk: Taco Bell culture have changed drastically and I hated it. Never ate at Taco Bell again after they changed everything in the 90's.

I used to go to work at Taco Bell at 5am in the morning to prepare fresh meat, vegetables and fry corn shell tortillas. Everything was done naturally and fresh. Now everything is precooked, prepared and shipped from the suppliers.

Anyway... definitely important to know the market well before selling something or go under with debts.

Taco Bell had a similar experience in the UK. They opened in London in the 80's. They took a huge site in Piccadilly but shut a short time later. We Brits just didn't 'get it'. Strangely, Mexican restaurants do okay in the UK. It's just that Mexican fast food didn't work for us. They might do better now though.

Nobbynumbnuts
18-07-2012, 02:01
A lot of good stuff's been said already, let me add a few pennies:

We russians are conservative, yes indeed. No one minds european style cuisines (french, italian, etc). We like simple peasant food (german, czech). We're fond of place with booze (irish and english pubs, beer restaurants). We like middle eastern ones (Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan) for they remind us about Sovet Union times and are cheap and nourishing enough usually.

Everything else is for expats and curious ones. And I don't think you'll find plenty of these in province. Even in Moscow you can take a simple test: run through several not-so-popular-cuisine's restaurants (moroccan, serbian, etc) and count visitors.

Moscow isn't cosmopolitan enough to support a wide variety of so called 'ethnic cuisine' restaurants.
There are large populations from the former Soviet republics, Vietnamese, Chinese and different expats from 'western' countries, not a lot more in large enough numbers to make a difference, i guess.
In Europe, a lot of the less popular ethnic restaurants like Lebanese or Greek would rely on native customers for a substantial part of their business. This gives them the authentic atmosphere and they're never completely empty. As times change they eventually catch on with the wider population. Italian and Chinese restaurants are great examples of this. They were originally opened by locals to serve their communities.

loseki
18-07-2012, 10:04
Moscow isn't cosmopolitan enough to support a wide variety of so called 'ethnic cuisine' restaurants.

Totally agree. There are exceptions though, your restaurant can suddenly become popular due to craze. Like it happened with japanese restaurants.

And yes, you can succeed with a little help from large expat groups. I've been to several chinese and vietnamese places aimed for servicing traders. They're usually situated in shady distant corners of the markets .-) But that's also not the topicstarter's way.