The Czar of Crepes

A financial crisis helped create Russia's Teremok. It could become the McDonald's of blini

Alex Gronsky / Agency.Photographer.RU for TIME

Mikhail Goncharov expects to grow revenue 75% this year.

At any of the 62 cheerful, modern, orange-and-red Teremok restaurants or 70 Teremok kiosks in St. Petersburg and Moscow--which provide an equally cheerful customer experience--teenagers in red uniforms greet customers with a smile. Then, according to highly specific instructions laid out in the company handbook, they take, prepare and deliver orders. But in a twist on the concept that the customer is king, the wait staff's salutation is sudar or sudarynia, archaic Russian terms for "master" and "mistress." Teremok's fare consists not of American-style burgers but of Russian-style blini, the traditional thin pancakes, delivered with chain-restaurant consistency at fast-food prices. For...

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