Russia Country Market
Insights and Opportunities
Restaurant Equipment Sector
Overview: The restaurant market in Russia had been booming due to the rapid development of the food service industry and increased consumer spending, but the sector slowed down considerably in early 2009 as a result of the economic crisis. However, the restaurant market began to pick up in the last quarter of 2009. Also, in spite of the crisis, fast food, quick and casual and chain restaurants continued to show positive dynamics, though many downsized their development plans. Industry experts also consider catering a promising market segment. About 40% of chain restaurants, cafés and bars are concentrated in Moscow and about 15% in St. Petersburg. The next biggest markets are Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Perm and Nizhniy Novgorod.
Even though the market is very price sensitive, experts predict that demand for technologically-advanced equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers will grow in the coming years. Presently, a wide selection of imported and domestic food service equipment is available for sale in Russia. Though the market share of Russian equipment increased in 2009, nevertheless imported equipment still accounts for about 30% of market.
The key exporters of foreign restaurant equipment to Russia are Italy, China, Germany, the United States and Canada. Foreign companies active in the Russian market include Eksi (Italy), Rational (Germany), Electrolux (Sweden), Hatco (U.S.), Middleby (U.S.), Kitchenaid (U.S.), and Garland (Canada). Atesi and Chuvashorgtehnika are leading Russian market players.
Food service equipment is divided into three major categories: premium/high priced, medium, and low priced equipment.
Currently the low-priced segment, occupied by Chinese and Korean manufacturers as well as Russian producers, prevails in Russia’s regions. Experts note that the demand for high-end equipment decreased in 2009 due to the economic downturn. The mid-price range is considered to hold the best opportunities for U.S. equipment suppliers, and in particular the fast food equipment sector shows promise. Industry insiders estimate that the size of the fast food equipment sector rebounded10% in 2009. It is believed that U.S. equipment will soon become an attractive substitute for Italian and other European equipment if the Euro-dollar exchange rate remains favorable.
It is worth noting that while several years ago foreign suppliers had one or two authorized distributors, today the trend is toward increasing the number of authorized distributors, which creates competition not only among suppliers, but also among distributors. In order to maintain market positions and to stay competitive, distributors are now including technical training, equipment adjustments and maintenance services in their offers.
Opportunities: The best opportunities for U.S. exporters lie in the middle price segment of the restaurant equipment market. Buyers of such equipment are mostly concentrated in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, buyers in other regions of Russia prefer low-end equipment.
To be more specific, there is an interest in equipment for fast food restaurants, street kiosks and food courts; pizzerias; Asian food restaurants; and coffee houses. Also as the crisis hit the sector, restaurant owners began to search for non-standard approaches to upgrading their menu to attract more customers. That is why unique equipment for preparing new dishes and ethnic food are now in demand. Best prospects in this market include: Coffee and hot beverage machines; Griddles for making Russian pancakes (blini); Machines for preparing smoothies; Steam convection ovens; Frying machines; Equipment for low temperature thermal conditioning; Grills and rotisseries; Smokers; Equipment for pizzerias; Bar equipment; Showcases and Popcorn machines.
For U.S. firms interested in the Russian restaurant equipment market, exhibiting at Russian restaurant trade shows is advised. These trade shows are a powerful marketing tool and reassure Russian buyers that the U.S. company is committed to establishing and maintaining its presence in the Russian market.