The number of visitors in restaurants after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine began to return to pre-war levels, and the restaurant business, in general, has a good future in Russia. The restaurateur Anton Pinsky told RTVI about this as part of the Chronicles of the New World project.
Anton Pinsky is the founder of Pinskiy&Co, co-owner of the Sagrado holding. Restaurateur of the Year 2022 at the Palme d’Or National Restaurant Award, laureate of the Where to Eat federal award “For contribution to the development of the gastronomic culture of the region”, as well as the Restaurateur of the Year according to GQ-2020 and the best businessman of 2020 of the Palme d’Or award. In addition to restaurants, he is engaged in the club business.
About the decrease in the number of visitors in restaurants after the outbreak of hostilities. In my opinion, globally has not changed in any way [ведение бизнеса]. Of course, a certain number of people who were against certain events left the country, of course, they may have become a little less, let’s call it liberal-minded. In March, we felt, probably, the outflow of the public by 20%. But in the end, in April we already see that in April [отток был] 10%, and in May we have already recovered, in June we even go at a faster pace than June [в прошлом году].
On the ethics of going to a restaurant under the conditions of a “military special operation”. Was it ethical or unethical? [праздничные фестивали] to carry out, and not only in our country, but also in the neighboring country [на Украине], in 2014, in 2015? It is unethical for me to leave without a salary a large number of employees who work for me. It is unethical to leave yourself, your family without earnings and income, your partner partners. Business is not only about buzz and pleasure, it is still primarily about responsibility, and by the way, we could fully feel everything during the pandemic, when everything stopped for you, and you have to pay your salary.
On the potential opportunity to do business in the Crimea and Donbass. We need to watch the market, study it. I haven’t studied these markets, so it’s hard for me to say. We need to see if there is enough demand there. Probably, in the DPR now it is not so obvious, in Crimea it is seasonal, so these are just, probably, not the fields where I play. After all, I am a pragmatic businessman: there is my civil position as a citizen and there is my position as a businessman.
On the difficulties of doing business in the context of anti-Russian sanctions. For example, I had a business in Spain, on the island of Ibiza. And in terms of mentality, not only from the point of view of the population, but from the point of view of the accepted way of communication between business and government, Turkey is more understandable to me, the rules are more understandable than in Spain, [где] the bureaucracy is terrible. Here is an example. When the special operation began, the local bank blocked our accounts and said that “we don’t have global claims against you, but go to another bank.” Another bank says: “No, we can’t open an account for you.”
And at this time you have to pay salaries, pay a communal apartment, pay this and that, and all accounts are blocked. We appeal to supervisory authorities: “what is it, they block our account there, they don’t open it here, they violate our rights, we are law-abiding businessmen.” Well, then red tape begins: write there, there the case is considered by this one, then they transferred it to Madrid, then they returned it from Madrid. You will go looking for the truth for two years.
In Russia and Turkey, if you are guilty of something, then they will come to you and you will have to answer quickly enough for the fact that you are guilty. Not so in Spain. Guilty or not guilty – it doesn’t matter: they block your account, and then you go and look for someone there, you prove to someone that you are right, and there no one cares about you.
About rising prices for food in restaurants. We have slightly adapted the menu in two restaurants, but this was not due to these external factors. [боевыми действиями]. It’s just that the time has come, we had to change prices. We started correcting them, but then canceled all this correction in March, because by that time the exchange rate had already rolled back, and the panic among suppliers had already passed, because suppliers had already started [цепочки]and we just bought a lot, when only in the first days, products, and in principle, our incoming prices were still normal.
About fighting escorts who come to restaurants. Colleagues struggle with this in different ways. Someone, for example, calculating them, then blacklists their phones, and they no longer book tables. Our booking is limited by time, that is, we book [человеку место], the visit time is limited to two hours. A person cannot sit longer [чем два часа]. Therefore, here the adventurer and the good life [не получится сидеть долго]She just spends her money and finds nothing.
About the club culture. Why is it less now? [эскортниц]? Because they are them [богатых людей] not in restaurants they are looking for, now social networks have actively developed. These social networks killed the glamorous night Moscow at the time. Previously, some went to the clubs to film, others to film. And why is this glamorous Moscow gone now? Because people began to treat the disco as a disco, as a place for dancing. This is a good trend in terms of measuring the health of society. The disco began to be treated exactly like a disco.
Now a new generation has come, they hang out. For example, in the same Gipsy we have three thousand people a night, in Lookin Rooms, which is already 13 years old, two or three thousand people pass a night. But these are already different people, a different generation with a different way of thinking. They come just to dance, they don’t come to put on some kind of show.
About dismantling in clubs. In the age of high technology development and the fact that now everyone is filming everything on their phones and immediately posting it, everyone has become very neat [вести себя в клубах]. [Раньше]when a person is drunk, especially if they don’t let him in, then he could undergo a transformation in front of the face controller from a thieves to a policeman and back. He began to say that he was some kind of super cool there, as a result he got some kind of crust. But now it seems to me [в России] due to technological progress, there has been a transformation in the minds of people, and in general we see it, such everyday problems, they have become not only less, but they are practically non-existent, these are isolated cases. Those who had such hot blood now behave differently.
About doing business in Ukraine and everyday Russophobia. We opened a project not so long ago [на Украине], in September. I had a Russian team working there, and they repeatedly asked: “When will we return to Russia? When will you pick us up from here? How much can you get here?” That is, they really felt all this pressure and pressure. [из-за того, что они русские]. That’s where I was [тоже]worked, I understand what it is, and I myself went there several times, about twice a month.
My employees suffered constantly. And it began [давление] in the airport. Are you coming, [у тебя спрашивают]: “Whose Crimea?”, “Have you been to Crimea?”, “Have you been to Donbass?”. Russians are treated like second-class citizens. When you arrive, you give a Russian passport at the border, they let everyone through, [а] you, and usually two Moroccans or two Algerians [оставляют]. You first wait five hours. Then they tell you: “Well, come in.” You come in. They start asking you these questions. I went to Kyiv last year 10-12 times. Out of 10 times, 2 times I quickly passed, and 8 times they fooled me there for 10 hours.
I associate this attitude with the fact that there [на Украине] propaganda worked quite actively after 2014 in order to strengthen Russophobic sentiments among the population. and this manifested itself, including at the household level. There was such a mix: there were a large number of people who were in a normal mood, but everything that concerned officials who checked – when they came to restaurants, if they saw that there were some Russians there, a whole story began. It was more a roll not from the side of the population, – [и] including the population – but everyone, invested with power to one degree or another, has always been treated [настороженно к русским].
The fact that in Russia they hate the rich. Crashed into my memory [случай]when I bought my first car, a Porsche. And now I’m driving this Porsche, I just got my license, I’m standing at a crossroads, and two women, 55 years old, are standing at a traffic light. My window is open and music is playing softly. It was probably 2008. And one [из женщин] another says: “Look, how happy! He stole and sits smiling. Well, where, why such an attitude? I make the music quieter, I say: “And who did you steal from?” She blushed: “Oh, he heard! Oh, everybody, let’s run!”
[Это часть культурного] code. Because in Soviet times it was driven into the heads of our citizens that the state gives so much, and everyone should live equally. They never liked the guild workers or anyone else who tried to break out of the general ranks. These are echoes of the Soviet period, and, perhaps, the tsarist period.
About why the restaurant business in Russia has a positive future. Why am I now positively looking at the fate of the restaurant market in Russia? You don’t go for clothes anymore. Travel abroad has also become less affordable. You can’t watch Batman in the cinema, you can’t spend money on it. If earlier people, choosing leisure or choosing what to spend their free money on, chose between a restaurant and expensive clothes, between a restaurant and a concert, between a restaurant and something else, now they will have to choose between a restaurant and a restaurant.