MOSCOW - Burger King, the world's second biggest hamburger chain, said on Friday it plans to open its first Russian restaurant in Moscow this year, lured by the potential of the country's 140 million population.
We are still under negotiations with different parties. We are hoping to open soon. The plan is to open by the end of this calendar year, spokeswoman Andrea Ungereit-Hantl told Reuters by telephone.
Bigger rival McDonald's will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of its first Russian restaurant next year, but Russia is still considered underpenetrated by fast-food chains.
Ungereit-Hantl said Burger King was looking to cooperate with multiple franchise partners in Russia but would not say how many restaurants the company aimed to open.
It's an interesting market. It's a big country, it's attractive and developing. It's the country where Burger King should be, she said.
McDonald's, which currently has about 300 restaurants in Russia, saw Russian sales rise 20 percent in 2008 and has said it expected Russia to remain its fastest-growing market despite the economic crisis. (Reporting by Maria Plis; writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by John Bowker and Jon Loades-Carter)