Hoops to Hooters Kirilenko Aims at Moscow Mad at McDonald’s
Andrei Kirilenko, the National Basketball Association player referred to as AK-47, is defying Russian antipathy toward U.S. manufacturers by starting the country’s first Hooters restaurant.
Kirilenko, who plays for billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Brooklyn Nets, said the very first of five restaurants he plans to construct in Moscow will start April 28 under a franchisee deal with Hooters of America Inc., the chain best known for that revealing tank-tops worn by its waitresses.
McDonald’s Corp. (MCD:US) this month closed its restaurants in Crimea, citing supply issues, a move regarded as a snub in Russia because of its annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula, which caused U.S. sanctions. The deputy speaker of the Russian parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, required protests to generate the Big Mac machine from the nation, a strategy supported by 62 percent of Russians, based on a study by SuperJob’s Research Center.
“What do politics need to do with a sports club?” Kirilenko, 33, said by telephone from Nyc. The Nets will start the NBA playoffs this weekend.
Americans and “Russians are more alike than different — large sports fans who’re searching for good times and good food,” Kirilenko said. “When you’ve got waitresses that seem like mine, it’s a slam dunk.’
Kirilenko it is a native of Izhevsk within the Ural Mountains, where the creator of the AK-47 automatic rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, died this past year and spends his summers in Russia.
In 1999, in the age of 18, Kirilenko became the newest European drawn in the NBA draft at that time if he was picked by the Utah Jazz within the first-round. He decided to stay with CSKA Moscow for 2 months before joining the Jazz in 2001.
Kirilenko, an NBA All-Star in 2004, rejected a $10 million deal this past year to remain together with the Minnesota Timberwolves, opting instead to get a $6.3 million, two-year deal with all the Nets. He missed nearly half this season’s activities because of accidents.
Now Kirilenko is helping closely-held Hooters attempt the largest growth within the Atlanta-based company’s 23-year history, based on Andre Thome, head of market growth in Europe. The organization plans to open 19 restaurants away from U.S. this season, including in Moscow and Phuket, Thailand, Thome said by telephone from Prague. Hooters currently has about 60 all over the world and about 350 locations within the U.S..
When McDonald’s opened its first cafe within the Soviet Union, Muscovites have been getting their flavor of American food since 1990. A spokeswoman for your organization, Nina Prasolova, declined to discuss the study or Zhirinovsky’s protests.
Although McDonald’s currently has 420 restaurants across Russia and Shake Shack, Burger King Global (BKW:US) Inc., Subway Restaurants and Yum! Brands (YUM:US) Inc. have all entered the marketplace, the nation still has just one restaurant per 930 people, versus one per 150 within the U.S., based on data published by the Moscow-based Company Analytica investigation organization.
Income in Russia’s food-service industry is forecast to increase 5 percent this season to $20.1 billion, according to Euromonitor International. That’s about $140 per-capita, in contrast to a lot more than $1,000 in much more than $1 and western Europe,500 within the U.S., information in the London-based specialist present.
With Russia’s economy to the verge of recession, based on HSBC Holdings Plc, not all stores have now been successful. Chili’s Grill & Bar this past year closed its flagship Moscow restaurant less than 3 years after it opened. Ashley Johnson, a spokeswoman for Chili’s operator Brinker International (EAT:US) in Dallas, declined to review by telephone.
The Chili’s location, on Novy Arbat, may soon reopen as a Burger King, among about 60 within the town, based on the company’s Russian site. Pizza King’s Russian product, part-owned by state-run investment bank VTB Capital, has opened six restaurants this month.
Dmitry Medoviy, CEO of Burger King Russia, told Itar-Tass news service on April 9 he plans to develop into Crimea. A spokesman for Burger King within the U.S., Bryson Thornton, rejected that statement within an e-mailed statement.
Hooters’ Thome said his organization has an edge over other stores since its worldwide franchisees don’t need to transfer lots of expensive proprietary products.
‘‘We adapt culturally to all of the areas we work-in,” Thome said. “In many places, which means our clients turn to us for middle- to high-end eating rather than spot-on the table to drink beer and eat wings.”
Andrey Gomilin, director of the very first Hooters location in Moscow, which is situated close to the former headquarters of the KGB, said it’ll have the ability to chair 169 people. An in-house shop may offer Hooters merchandise including T-shirts, caps and calendars, and the restaurant has 40 flat-screen televisions that’ll display Russian and U.S. sports, Gomilin said.
Hooters it has previously delivered five members of the brand new team to Atlanta and St. Louis for training and is hiring as much as 80 waitresses for that cafe, Gomilin said.
Irina Shayk, the cover design for Activity Illustrated’s swimsuit issue in 2011 as well as the partner of Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, decided to are a waiter in the Moscow Hooters to get a week after it starts, based on the restaurant’s Facebook site.
The largest problem is likely to be beating a strip club is it’sed by the idea “that, while many Russians know about the Hooters brand from Hollywood movies,” Kirilenko said.