Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed the creation of a new chain of "patriotic" fast food restaurants to rival U.S. brands in the country, according to a Russian media reports.
Two Oscar-winning Russian film directors, brothers Andrei Konchalovsky and Nikita Mikhalkov, will reportedly receive $14 million to set up a national fast food chain, RBC news agency reported citing an unnamed government source.
The fast food chain will be funded under a government scheme that helps small and mid-sized businesses get bank loans, RBC said, and would be called "Yedim Doma!" -- "Let's eat at home!" – building upon an existing brand owned by the wife of one of the film directors.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported earlier this year that the directors had claimed in a letter to President Vladimir Putin that the project would "rival American fast-food chains."
The project will consist of 41 cafes and 91 stores in the Moscow and Kaluga regions with all food to be made from regional products, Kommersant reported, citing a copy of the letter to Putin
The move comes amid a rising tide of patriotism and anti-U.S. sentiment in the country following Russia's isolation by the west after its annexation of Crimea last year and role in the recent conflict in east Ukraine.
The idea for the fast food chain is closely linked to the Russian government's policy to promote domestic products over foreign brands, particularly after the west imposed sanctions on Russian exports last year for its actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
U.S. chain McDonald's, which opened its first store in Moscow in 1990 shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union, announced the closure of several of its branches in Crimea following the Russian annexation last year, prompting one Russian politician to say the brand should get out of the whole country, calling the food "muck" and asking "why poison our citizens?"
Looking to capitalise on the growing appetite for home-grown fast food, Yedim Doma co-founders Andrei Konchalovsky, said his outlet would not be just another fast-food chain, where profit is more important than the quality of the food.
"We are trying to provide people with healthier, cleaner, 'honest,' as we say, food, which takes into account the regional preferences of the population," Konchalovsky told The Moscow Times.