Yuri is the very person who is the generator of ideas, without which neither black gloves, nor a dancing line on the Arbat, nor those “juicy and powerful” burgers would have appeared on the Russian market. Editorials of ANNARUSSKA.RU Yuri Levitas spoke about the idea of creating a Black Star Burger, cooperation with Timati, competition and, of course, about burgers.
AR: Yuri, good afternoon! I apologize in advance for the next question, I know that you answered it many times … Still, our readers will be very interested to know how the Black Star Burger project was born?
Yuri Levitas: Good afternoon! The task was to open a public catering institution of a completely new level in Moscow. Of course, I wanted to create a product that would be of interest primarily to me. I studied the fast food segment in the structure of the catering market for a long time, was interested, drew ideas. So, I came up with a project that called R’n’B – Real natural Big. Having said the first abbreviation, he immediately drew attention to the associative reference to music. Accepted as a sign. He began to analyze the Russian show business, to look for the artist who has the greatest influence on the public. I realized that such an artist in our country is none other than Timati. Without hesitating for a long time, I came to him with a proposal for collaboration. Timati became interested in the idea. From that very day we began to create a joint project, which in the future received the well-known name Black Star Burger.
AR: In an interview, you said that the Kardashian / West family inspired you to create the Black Star Burger. Do you consider Timati and the entire Black Star company a kind of analogue of the Kardashian / West couple in Russia who monetize their audience the best?
Yuri Levitas: Not really. I would say that it was I who proposed a similar monetization system. Before us, no one has used such a scheme for running a restaurant business. I was really inspired by the Kanye West family. Not being great designers, they managed, through the competent monetization of their subscribers on Instagram, to create a whole fashionable empire. Kylie Jenner did the same, but with makeup. We did the same with the Black Star Burger network. The army of subscribers of Timati and the entire Black Star company served as a way to instantly convey the idea and concept of the Black Star Burger to a huge number of people.
AR: You spent a part of your life in America, and now you are quite often there … Do you borrow any chips or ideas from American restaurants?
Yuri Levitas: Of course! It is not a shame to borrow ideas, and not only from American colleagues. Black Star Burger and I often monitor various European sites, looking for new ideas. The main thing is to correctly implement these ideas, to create something really cool. We come up with many of the chips ourselves, of course. At first, he worked on creating all the innovations himself, now the staff is growing, most creative ideas are generated by professional creative groups.
AR: Who in the Russian market do you consider your main competitor?
Yuri Levitas: I used to swagger and say that we have no competitors. But this is not boasting, I just always wanted to convey to the public that we are different. We are a kind of non-format. Black Star Burger is not a burger, like hundreds in Moscow, and not a network of low-quality fast food. Many put us on a par with McDonald’s and Burger King. I do not see the point of competing with them. We have different concepts, we create a much better product. In addition, in Black Star Burger restaurants, each guest immerses himself in the brand, feels himself part of the Black Star world.
AR: How do you manage to create a truly high-quality product without lifting its price tag? You have a pretty democratic menu …
Yuri Levitas: The first is high traffic, the second is the very monetization system that provides huge advertising and marketing opportunities for our suppliers. Thanks to this, they come at such low prices. In general, there are no secrets. Our salaries are standard, maybe even slightly above average, rent is space. I think that everything is possible thanks to competent business management.
AR: What do you pay attention to first when choosing a location for a new restaurant?
Yuri Levitas: As I said earlier, traffic is of great importance. Also, for example, in our Black Star Burger Prime restaurant in the Evropeisky shopping center, which recently reopened its doors, we created a separate space for a more comfortable location. Guests who do not want to become part of the famous dancing line-up (smiles) can get comfortable chairs and sofas and enjoy the high service, beautiful panoramic view and, of course, the taste of juicy burgers, marbled beef steaks and many other items from the Black Star menu Burger, overpaying for this no more than 50-100 rubles.
AR: Why aren’t burgers a junk food?
Yuri Levitas: Burgers are a great, balanced meal that contains proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Think for yourself if the burger is made from quality meat.
, a freshly baked bun, branded sauce made from natural ingredients and tasty, non-pesticidal vegetables, what kind of harmful product is this?
AR: Do you only cooperate with domestic producers of meat and other products?
Yuri Levitas: Yes! Fortunately, all the products necessary for the preparation of our burgers can be provided to us by Russian manufacturers. I will say more, the quality of Russian meat is in many ways ahead of America or Europe. After our burgers, I can no longer eat fast food in many establishments abroad.
AR: I know that you are actively selling the franchise. From which cities or countries did you receive the most requests?
Yuri Levitas: Most of all from the CIS countries. For example, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, they are now just preparing for the opening.
You can follow Yuri in IG: @yurilevitas