The Russian government may funnel nearly one billion Rubles ($18.65 million USD) towards a Russian replacement for Western chains like McDonalds. Ever since the West placed sanctions on Russia over the hostilities in Ukraine, the country's relationship with Western fast food chains has been dicey. The Washington Post writes that Wendy's decided to leave the Russian market last year, and Carl's Jr. plans to do the same soon. McDonald's was forced to close a number of locations while others were subject to surprise government inspections. Still, Newsweek writes, McDonald's — which plans to open more restaurants within Russia — and other Western brands like Coca-Cola remain "extremely popular" despite sanctions.
So, Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrey Konchalovsky — two internationally known film-directors, brothers, and Russian patriots — are trying to build a chain of fast food restaurants that would eliminate the need for Western chains. The chain — which is called Let's Eat at Home — has a decidedly pointed name. The moniker is also derived from the name of the cooking show Konchalovsky's wife and Russian celebrity chef Yulia Vysotskaya stars in.
The brothers hope to open 41 Let's Eat at Home restaurants and 91 Let's Eat at Home Stores soon. They believe that the restaurants and stores will turn a profit in just 4.8 — yes exactly 4.8 — years. There's no word on what exactly will be served at the restaurants, but "only up to 40 percent of the menu will be devoted to regional specialities," so Russian-government funded cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets are a likely possibility.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently a strong fan of the plan. Moscow-based journalist Alec Luhn tells Newsweek: "Putin reportedly liked the idea and ordered Arkady Dvorkovich, who oversees agriculture and who is seen as a mover-and-shaker in the government, to look into how to implement it." He adds, "If sales are good the government could actually recoup its money. The fast food industry in Russia is known to be a good market, as it's only high-end restaurants that have been hit by Russia's embargo on Western food imports."