Replacing Starbucks in Moscow is a tall order, but two Russian entrepreneurs are giving it a go.
“Stars Coffee,” a copycat chain created to fill the void left when Starbucks filtered out of Russia, opened its first store in Moscow on Thursday.
The behemoth American coffee corporation left Russia in May in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, amid a Western drive to grind down the Russian economy.
The menu at Stars Coffee is similar to Starbucks, although with some key differences. For example, frappuccinos are called “frappucitos,” and the familiar-looking logo is subtly different to its predecessor, with Starbucks’ two-tailed mermaid replaced by a woman wearing a “kokoshnik” — a traditional Russian headdress.
Starbucks left behind 130 stores in the country. Its assets were bought by Russian rapper Timati and restaurateur Anton Pinski, who are spearheading the new chain.
Russian TV channel RBK reported that in addition to the coffee shop, the chain will have stores with different formats and expanded menus — with some “premium” stores including a sushi bar and alcohol.
The new owners said they will reopen all 130 establishments across the country. They plan to have all outlets up and running before the end of September, according to RBK.
Starbucks is just one of the many Western companies that have left Russia since its full-scale of Ukraine started in February. McDonald’s closed its stores in Russia in May — which began reopening a month later under the name “Vkusno-i Tochka” (Tasty-period).