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McDonald’s feels no worries over potential rivals in Russian fast food market

April 10, 2015, 18:10 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK

The company declined to comment on prospects of the project initiated by Oscar-winner Nikita Mikhalkov and his brother Andrey Konchalovsky

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© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

NOVOSIBIRSK, April 10. /TASS/. US fast food giant McDonald’s said on Friday it was not very concerned about the appearance of a new competitor in Russia as two leading Russian film directors announced plans to drive Western fast food restaurants out of the Russian market.

"The food market in Russia has great potential for development. And it is a good thing that people have more choice," a spokesperson for McDonald’s in Russia told TASS, adding that the fast food chain’s restaurants in the country served about a million people every day and there was no reason for concern.

The company declined to comment on prospects of the project initiated by Oscar-winner Nikita Mikhalkov and his brother Andrey Konchalovsky.

The two of the country’s most famous film directors are planning to create a domestic restaurant chain to compete with foreign fast food joints such as McDonald’s.

According to media reports, the brothers wrote to President Vladimir Putin to seek state support in the creation of a network of cafes and catering facilities under the name "Eat at home!".

The brand reportedly belongs to Konchalovsky’s wife, actress and TV personality Yulia Vysotskaya, who is seen as a likely face of the new chain.

Konchalovsky told TASS he was waiting for the government’s reaction to Mikhalkov’s and his own idea of creating a chain of "available and honest food."

The directors initially requested 971.8 million rubles ($18.7 million) of government money to have the project up and running. The issue was considered on Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Dvorkovich's spokeswoman Aliya Samigullina said after the meeting the project did not require budget support and would pretend for participation in existing small and medium business support projects on a common basis.

McDonald’s, which has been operating in Russia for 25 years, suffered a number of setbacks last year amid tensions between Moscow and Washington over the crisis in Ukraine.

In August, Russia's food safety watchdog launched a wave of checks which led to temporary closures of several restaurants of the chain, including the famous location on Pushkin Square that brought McDonald's to Russia just before the fall of the Soviet Union.

McDonald's operates more than 400 restaurants in 85 Russian cities and rates the country one of its top seven major markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report. The company employs nearly 37,000 people in Russia, serving more than a million customers a day.

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