The bald man is coming to Russia, and he's bringing his chocolate with him.
Israeli chocolate bar Max Brenner, which calls its products "chocolates by the bald man," has become the latest foreign partner of restaurant mogul Alexander Kolobov.
In addition to Shokoladnitsa, the largest coffeehouse chain in Russia, Kolobov's projects include sushi chain Vabi Sabi and Burger King Russia.
The first Max Brenner location will open in Moscow in late 2013 or early 2014, Shokoladnitsa's marketing director told Kommersant.
Founded by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner as a small chocolate shop in 1996, Max Brenner had $37 million in total sales in 2012 and now boasts 51 locations in five countries: Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, the USA and Israel. The bars are known for their chocolate-based desserts but also serve coffee.
The chain will face stiff competition in a Russian market overflowing with cafes. Kolobov's Shokoladnitsa alone has 340 locations, while rivals Coffee House and Starbucks have substantial networks, 198 and 63 coffee houses respectively. Italy's Lavazza also recently announced plans to open 70 stores across Russia.
The owner of a prominent chain told Kommersant that the proliferation of coffee houses has only brewed more demand among Russians.