#CBfriends: Seven


The hero of our new interview in the #CBfriends section is Anatoly Petrenko, executive director of the Seven restaurant (RestoKrat LLC).

We visited the Seven restaurant and talked with Anatoly about who comes to a family restaurant, how to work with guests and why the restaurant business is not a profession, but a way of life.

Tell us about yourself: what did you do before Seven, how did your path in this profession begin, and did you ever want to turn it off and do something else?

My name is Petrenko Anatoly, I am 47 years old, and I got into the restaurant business, one might say, on the wild waves of the raging 90s. Since there wasn’t much work to earn real money, I decided to try myself in the restaurant business as a bartender.

Анатолий Петренко

At first, in his hometown, he worked in a cowboy bar, where chairs and ashtrays flew (mostly at the waiters) - in a word, there were fun times. Then in Moscow I got a job at the Italian restaurant “Ciao, Italy” (Zemlyanoy Val, 29), then at the cafe “Verona” on Vorontsovskaya, 36. Then I continued, again along the Italian line, at the cafe “Italy” on the old Arbat , worked there for quite a long time - about 7 years (from 1996 to 2002). It was at that moment that I decided that I was tired of the restaurant business, that the same Rubicon that happens to every restaurant employee was approaching. But after working in other areas—I sold coffee, for example—and seeing other restaurants, I came to the conclusion that I was, after all, a restaurant worker, and life would not be good for me without a restaurant.

Then he got a job at Anton Tabakov’s restaurant, already as Antonio’s manager. And somehow the great Arkady Anatolyevich Novikov noticed me and gave me my first restaurant - “Dymov No. 1” on Malaya Dmitrovka, which I successfully managed, and then for a number of reasons I went into free swimming and mainly worked on my own projects. When my former friends and colleagues, having risen to a certain height, wanted to open restaurants, I helped them as best I could. There were projects both in Moscow and in the Moscow region - for whom I opened restaurants. By the way, I also worked in a network project - in 4 years at Tanuki I worked through 5 restaurants from the smallest to one of the largest.

And how do you like your experience in network business?

Network experience helps me a lot in life by structuring my knowledge. Buffering of knowledge always occurs, but only the network provides an understanding of how to apply this knowledge. Knowledge turns into skills, and skills in our work are a key element, I believe. You have to do something automatically, routine, for example, and creativity only kicks in later. Order in a restaurant comes first and foremost: in accounting, with suppliers and everything that has to do with numbers. This gives you a lot of experience working online. And I am grateful to Tanuki; I still communicate with most of the directors and management.

In general, it was a good experience, but it was time to change something in life, because I felt a little cramped within the confines of such a restaurant. And I initiated leaving, having previously passed an interview with such a restaurant business guru as Alexander Leonidovich Rappoport, which was not easy and interesting. At first I was given the position of manager in Doctor Zhivago. Inga was on maternity leave, and I simply had the task of not ruining the restaurant, which I succeeded in doing. Afterwards I was given a new project - “Grand European Express”. Then “ERWIN RiverSeaOcean”, which, I believe, at this stage became the crown of my career. This is one of the largest restaurants in Moscow, where I had to use all my skills, experience, abilities: managerial, psychological, accounting, and construction; and in total it gave a good result.


Even construction ones?

Yes, there we rebuilt the preparation shops and the washing shop in order to ensure uninterrupted washing of dishes, because the restaurant was designed for a completely different number of guests. Let’s say, according to statistics, 200 guests came before, and then suddenly 700-800. Accordingly, the kitchen has changed. It began to be based on seafood, which requires careful handling, storage, and transportation, so we rebuilt the procurement workshop and installed additional cooling devices so that the fish could be processed at +14.

A lot of work was done with suppliers, because the task was set as follows: to provide Moscow with inexpensive seafood. That is, the assortment was the same as in La Marée, but much cheaper. Erwin is the first restaurant to start selling crabs for 9,500 rubles - the same crab in La Marée cost about 23 thousand. That is, these were direct calls to the coast of the Barents Sea, direct calls to the Peter the Great Gulf, to the Sakhalin region, Busse Lagoon, in general, I became a specialist in all the seas and oceans of our vasthomeland.


How did your story with Seven begin?

First you work for the name, and then the name works for you a little. My old friends invited me to this project - Seven, which was conceived by people who have reached heights in various areas of business in Moscow. The need and need came to open their own restaurant, where their large families, large groups of friends could gather, and negotiations could be held. And we chose this place and opened a restaurant. Previously, there was some kind of iconic hipster shoe store here, in the place of which we opened such a cozy, I hope understandable, restaurant completely from scratch.


Seven is a family restaurant with a range of dishes from Russian to Asian cuisine. Tell us more about its concept?

An adept of Moscow cuisine, Dmitry Shurshakov - Dmitry Viktorovich Shurshakov - was invited, who shone and continues to shine in the firmament of the Moscow restaurant business. A task was set, although you couldn’t set a task for him, because he sets tasks himself, he is a difficult person, like all creative people.

We made a selection of Moscow dishes that Muscovites and guests of the capital love, and made a kind of mix that allows the large family that came, from grandmother to teenager, to choose dishes that they are used to consuming in Moscow restaurants. From borscht to Asian-style broccoli and eel soup; from the capital’s salad, albeit in an original version, to some newfangled ceviche and tartars.

Accordingly, an extensive menu made it possible to satisfy the needs of our guests, because we were not targeting a specific group or age segment, this is a family story. There is a children's menu. That is, a large family comes from grandfather to grandson, to whom we provide a full range of services. Large companies, a playground, children's parties... We have already held 27 weddings in the restaurant. I don’t know how many proposals were made, but people were seen kissing :)

Here's a short story.

Chef Sommelier

Do you have any special “tricks” that no one else has?

Special features... You need to know Shurshakov's cuisine to understand his philosophy of food. His philosophy is based on simple products with complex execution. For example, the same capital salad. A person is a creature that thinks in images, and when you hear the word “capital salad,” a certain picture is formed in your mind, and even a certain salivation occurs under this salad, because you have already imagined it. But you are served a completely different dish, prepared from those products that are included in the classic version, but it is all served in a completely different form. That is, just as water has several states - liquid, solid, vapor, so Shurshakov does the same with products. He turns ordinary things into interesting dishes.

So, we can safely say that your specialty is the kitchen?

Yes. We have a smoking oven, an aquarium and seafood - where would I be without them - oysters, both of Russian origin and, for example, from Morocco, New Zealand, Japan... We follow trends, but the original focus of the cuisine is always supported.

Kunstwerk Pastoral

Have you told us what kind of guests you would like to see, and who actually comes?

These are the kind of guests that come. The lower hall, for example, has already become traditionally a banquet hall. Birth of a child? 15 men will come and sit here - the men ate meat and washed it down with beer. Next, here, before the wedding, there is a party for the girls for 12 people. Everything is connected with family celebrations and events. Tomorrow my mother’s 50th birthday is celebrated by her son, 60 people are our guests every day.

It’s nice that we touched on such a segment as business breakfasts, because the platform is quite convenient. Although there is no special parking, the location allows many companies to quickly hold business breakfasts with speakers, everything is easily transformed, rearranged, there is equipment that allows such events: large plasma, speakers, sound.

Speaking of location, did you deliberately look for something in the center, or was it just a matter of chance?

To be honest, I came when the premises were already there and consulted remotely. It’s such a quiet backwater here, that’s why it’s interesting. If in an obvious restaurant, one might say, you cast a net and catch a fish, here you have to throw a float and wait for it to bite, feeding it - this is completely different. Our advertising strategy is based on this: there is no flow of guests who simply pass by, as on Bolshaya Dmitrovka, where in any case someone will look into your cell.


This is also noticeable by your online presence.

Yes, we didn’t want to become a one-day restaurant, like some restaurants that work for 2 months on wow advertising, the audience that the PR person and the restaurant owners have is artificially driven there, everyone comes and hangs out for 2 months, and then this restaurant is safely it is forgotten, a year later the name changes, and new tenants move in.

We play calmly, measuredly, earning a reputation for ourselves.

Have you looked at the reviews?

Yes, the reviews are great.

And I assure you that we are not working on this. There is no fake stuff there. It is clear that not 1000 people come to me a day, but at the same time, the evening boarding is quite intense, and we try to get the guest to come again. And this systematic work is bearing fruit.

This brings us to my next question: what do you think attracts your visitors the most? Food, drinks, atmosphere?

A restaurant is a combination of factors. And, as the great Rappoport says, this is chemistry, or rather alchemy, chemistry is an exact science, and a restaurant is alchemy: it is very difficult to capture this moment of success of a restaurant, only the combination of all factors, all segments, all divisions works and gives a positive result. How the hostess is greeted, what the security guard looks like, whether flowers grow or not grow, whether the waiter smiles or does not smile - from the first word spoken to “we are waiting for you again” - this creates the image of the restaurant, and we are constantly working on this.


The waiters are also praised in the reviews.

I have a special approach to working with staff. I work according to the principle “whom God has sent, I work with.” I don’t fire anyone with one glance, but I try to penetrate into the essence of a person: what he wants from life, what he wants from a restaurant. And depending on his worldview, I give him the information that I consider necessary, I direct him in the direction in which he is strong.

I don't have standard waiters. There are aspiring photographers, artists, singers, they are all creative people, and there are also artisans who just want to make money. But at the same time, each disadvantage of a particular personality is compensated by the advantages of another, and together this gives such synergy that allows the restaurant to provide soulful service. The main thing is that the guest is cordially and understands that he is welcome here. And if one waiter is gloomy and the second is too smiling, this will cause dissonance. And this creates an even atmosphere that allows the guest to come and relax.

We don’t have to tell you all the promotions, like in chain restaurants: “good afternoon, today we have such and such a promotion, tomorrow such and such...” - and so on 15 promotions, then we went through the standard, along the Christmas tree, and so far you have completed all the stages They said that the guest had already forgotten why he came here.

I approach it individually. We clearly understand 70% of the audience: who they are, what they want. There are introverts whom you just need to not touch, not even say hello: he sat down, and even if I’m restructuring the hall, I just take him to a corner, and when everyone is standing on their ears here, there’s no need to touch him. He will sit down, read the newspaper, eat his lunch and leave silently. We adapt to the guest.

Is this how you studied the regular guests? Or can you immediately grasp the guest's mood?

Of course, young girls need to train, but in my experience I can warn them how to behave better. A guy and a girl came, and I already understand what is needed. If a man is much older than a lady, then a special approach is also needed here, because he will need to show his importance in front of the lady, if this is their first date, she also needs to show herself, and who will all this affect? On the waiters. We always say at trainings that each guest is individual. You see that a guest is sitting on the phone - identify yourself, show yourself, but do not intrude, so that the person feels calm and comfortable.

Durobor Quartz

Do you think tableware plays a role in creating ambience?

Her role is one of the most important. And with this, of course, “Complex-Bar” helped us :)

I have my own attitude towards tableware, and when choosing tableware for this restaurant, first of all, we wanted to achieve (because wanting and achieving are not always the same concepts) home comfort.

We chose dishes from the same brand, Belgian, it seems, according to the following principle: it should remind the guest of home. That is, it should not be standardized, because it is irregular in shape. So, at first, both my partners and I wanted to see something homey, so that the story would fit into the concept. But, to be honest, since I am a pragmatic person, this cookware did not meet my expectations in terms of ease of use. Because she is very capricious, the craquelure is very weak, and we lost 70% of our service in 9 monthsYatsev. Temperature changes greatly affect the quality, everything bursts, and we are gradually returning to Complex-Bar products.

Steelite (stilite), for example, has proven itself well in the Grand European Express, there is a lot of traffic and cramped space for washing, and then many Rappoport restaurants switched to steelite. I also partially transferred Erwin to stillite: after practicing on stillite in the Grand European Express, I realized that with high traffic, where at the same time the guest wants to see high-quality dishes, visitors do not question why an expensive dish is served on such dishes , because Steelite matches: this is a good story, in which it is not a shame to serve dishes on a tablecloth and on an expensive oak table. And you know that the dishes are easy to clean and there will be no chips, even if untrained personnel are allowed to work. In short, cookware solves problems. And along the way, at Seven we are switching to your new line (Kuntswerk “Pastoral”), as it fits perfectly into our home history.

When it comes to serving food, do you follow etiquette and traditional serving techniques, or do you experiment with shapes and presentation?

It is clear that there is a certain standard. But, since our chef is a culinary punk, there are experiments. For example, today he saw that buratta would fall on this plate. I allow the dishes to be different. Because rarely does anyone at home take the service out of the sideboard and place the same dishes for everyone. How is it at home? Whatever is on your sink is scattered, the main thing is that it is tasty and there is enough for everyone. We also act on this principle.


And speaking of the indoor kitchen, what equipment do you consider essential in the bar and kitchen?

The hostess at the bar is a coffee machine, as I believe, and the assistants are blenders, of course. I’m generally orthodox - the less electronics, the better, but now, of course, trends dictate completely different directions. It is clear that no one will cancel the combi oven and stoves, but everyone is already switching to induction. Our chef, of course, uses both creamers and sous vide cooking technology - everything is in trend. There’s not much molecular stuff, although we have caviar made from honey... Shurshakov is a very creative chef.

What aspects do you value most about working with Complex-Bar?

Efficiency, openness, information content, personal contact. It is very important for me that it is comfortable to work with a manager, so that he is not a robot who says “that’s it, 18:00, I’m not working anymore.” The restaurant business is like a living organism, sometimes you need to make decisions very quickly (and regarding dishes too), and make compromises. And in this regard, Complex-Bar is a very flexible company. I worked with her back when you had 2 rooms, different new products were constantly coming to Moscow, and I, as a bartender, bar manager, came and was surprised at the colored straws and so on :) You are leaders and always in trend.


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