Burger King opens in Moscow

Бургер Кинг spells out B-u-r-g-e-r K-i-n-g in Cyrillic, creating a new "cognate" (borrowed word from another language).

(Moscow Times/Vedomosti)

Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, opened its first Russian outlet Thursday as it seeks to capitalize on a booming fast-food market several years after its main competitors started operating in the country.

The fast-food chain opened its first restaurant in the Metropolis shopping mall in northwest Moscow and will open at least two more soon, including a branch in the Yevropeisky shopping center Jan. 25 and another in a Mega shopping center in Tyoply Stan.

Burger King will continue to open restaurants throughout 2010, the company said in a statement, but the firm would not disclose further details.

The opening comes long after McDonald’s entered the Russian market in 1990. McDonald’s has more than 240 restaurants in Russia, while domestic chain Rostiks-KFC has 170 outlets.

“Now is the appropriate moment to launch the brand on the Russian market in cooperation with the local partners,” said John Fitzpatrick, Burger King’s senior vice president for development and franchising in Eastern Europe. The company did a thorough study and sees the Russian market as “interesting and active,” he said.

Burger Rus, the restaurant’s Russian franchisee, is controlled by Alexander Kolobov, who founded the Shokoladnitsa coffee shop chain. He and partners Oleg Gurkov and Mikhail Serdtsev will operate the brand in Russia.

“We are looking forward to working together with Alexander and his team, and we are convinced that partnering with a local company will satisfy the expectations of our Russian customers,” said Yana Pesotskaya, general manager of Burger King in Russia.