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US-style Burger Wars begins in Siberia's 'capital city'

25 August 2014

McDonalds comes to town but Burger King is already here in Novosibirsk.

'It is a landmark event for the city', Aura shopping centre director said. Picture: ngs.ru

Amid the White House's insistence on sanctioning almost everything that moves in Russia, there is no problem in opening American-style fast food restaurants in Siberia, it seems. The Big Mac's arrival in Novosibirsk coincides with deep concern expressed by the country's chief sanitary watchdog over the chain.

'Now, finally, the people of Novosibirsk will be able to enjoy the taste of traditional cuisine of the famous network right in the middle of the city,' explained a press release from the RosEuroDevelopment group. 'The 162 square metre restaurant opened on the fourth floor of the Aura shopping centre'.

Roman Dubakin, Aura managing director: 'It is a landmark event for the city.

'Already more than 30,000 people were served in the days since the opening. Thanks to the Easy Order terminal people can choose any position from the menu, pay it by card and get the order without a need to queue up.'

Contrary to a claim it is not the first McDonalds in Siberia: the city of Tyumen has been on the chain's map for sometime, and more outlets are due to follow.

McDonalds has been slow into Siberia compared with others, and Burger King in April opened in Novosibirsk its third outlet - at the city's Tolmachevo Airport - and 200th in Russia. 

McDonalds comes to town but Burger King is already here in Novosibirsk. 


McDonalds comes to town but Burger King is already here in Novosibirsk. 

McDonald's in Tyumen, Western Siberia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

As a Novosibirsk blogger wrote the McDonald's opening in Novosibirsk 'wasn't like Moscow at the beginning of the 1990s (when the chain came to the USSR).  In the first queue was only about 20 people. 

'I was quite surprised by the ordering system, which was a bit like in a bank when you get a coupon and then watch your number to appear on a screen.

'The service was amazingly fast. In the kitchen, they worked so fast and with such energy that I wondered if they were able to keep up the pace until the end of the shift. The prices and variety of dishes was pretty much the same as in Moscow'.

Burger King Russia Director Dmitry Medovy said the company, the world's second largest hamburger chain in terms of outlets, plans to open 100 new restaurants in Russia. It is due to open for the first time in the Russian Far East.

Russian sanitary watchdog Rospotrebnadzor warned last week: 'We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald's chain in doubt'.

Russia's chief sanitary officer Anna Popova warned some products were 'extremely remote' from Russian norms. 

'The laboratory tests on product quality and safety revealed instances of the samples' incompliance with the current legal requirements for physical-chemical and microbiological content', said the watchdog. 'The Ceasar Roll and Vegetable Salad were found to contain microbial contamination with E.coli bacteria, with bacteria content in the Vegetable Salad ten times the accepted levels, which points to the gross violation by the staff of personal hygiene and the sanitary disinfection rules on the site. 

'Also, the energy and nutritional values of the products did not correspond to the information stated for consumers. The stated energy value for Royal Cheese Burger, Filet-o-fish, Cheese Burger, Chicken Burger was two or three times the actual ones, and the nutritional value of the Vanilla Milkshake, Chocolate Milkshake, Soft Ice-Cream with Flavour was reduced by a half for protein, fat and carbohydrates'.

Russian foodstuff holding Belaya Dacha will invest around 250 million rubles to build the first stage of a vegetable cutting and packing plant in the city of Ob, in Novosibirsk region, said Belaya Dacha Trading CTO Andrei Kochubei.

'We plan the investment at 250 million rubles for the first stage. The second stage is also planned, but it is too early to elaborate'.

Construction will start soon and be completed within two years, supplying McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC. 

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