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Dirt, expired products and cockroaches: what has been found during the checks in 'Dodo' pizzerias?
Dirt, expired products and cockroaches: what has been found during the checks in 'Dodo' pizzerias?
Former Dodo Pizza franchisees unanimously declare that an absolutely unhealthy atmosphere has developed in the network: 30% of pizzerias were literally pestered with non-stop checks, while the other 70%, controlled by Fedor Ovchinnikov's ‘friends’ have hardly heard of the checks from the management company. The editors of Rusbankrot sent their employees to supposedly exemplary restaurants to find out, who Ovchinnikov is urging all the ‘outsiders’ to follow. The results of our independent checks turned out to be mind-blowing.
How the checks at ‘Dodo Pizza’ were organized
For its independent raids, Rusbankrot has chosen several pizzerias - we will tell you about three of them in different regions of Russia: Murmansk, Vyazma (Smolensk Region) and Anapa (Krasnodar Territory). All these pizzerias are run by franchisees, whom Fedor Ovchinnikov traditionally cites as examples: Sergei Reuk (Anapa), Vladimir Goretsky (Vyazma), as well as Vladislav Ivaschenko and Octavian Nizamov (Murmansk). They rarely face checks, because there is supposedly nothing to complain about there, and therefore they did not expect us either.
It should be noted that the editorial office was not engaged in forging documents. Employees of Rusbankrot simply came and said that there would be a check now - and after that they were let in in all three restaurants without being asked for any confirmation. Frankly, we were ready for an analogue of the ‘Revizorro’ show, but we didn't even have to fight to enter the kitchen - the pizzeria employees did not interfere and did not even ask if their guests had medical records (they did). Representatives of the editorial office put on robes, masks, hair hats and went to check the work of the institutions from the inside.
Even with half an eye, it became clear that the pizzerias were far from not exemplary ones, but what was wrong with them?
‘Dodo Pizza’ in Vyazma
Vyazma is a small town in the Smolensk region with a population of about 50 thousand people. The locals have nowhere to go here (and in general, they are far from being wealthy), and therefore ‘Dodo Pizza’ is considered a ‘fashionable’ place where advanced youth gathers. This became obvious from the location of the restaurant - it is located right in the center of the city, almost next to the Lenin monument. ‘Since a pizzeria has such a high status, it means that the service must be at its best’, though our employees and went for a check.
There is such a thing as ‘loyalty time’ in the ‘Dodo’ chain - the restaurants must start working 15 minutes before the official opening time - so that guests who came a little earlier do not wait at the door. The editorial check arrived 10 minutes before the opening - and the pizzeria had already started working. But the positive moments were over there.
It was not possible to order coffee, because the coffee machine was not working. And the bill for the order had to be waited for over 10 minutes - it was not printed, as the equipment turned out to be broken. Our inspectors were immediately struck by the lack of salads on the shelves. Franchisees not from Ovchinnikov's close circle received an order to close pizzerias for the lack of salads (after all, the main positions of the menu should always on sale), but in Vyazma it did not bother anyone.
There were no price tags on the drinks, and they were carelessly placed on shelves- to read the titles, it was necessary to turn them over.
The kitchen was next. The first thing our reviewers noticed was dirt. The kitchen was really (very!) dirt. Tiles in black drops, used tea bags and pieces of food under the shelves, stains and marks from street shoes on the floor, dirt in the area of food stalls storage...
But the peak of all this was the boxes full of bugs, spiders and cockroaches, placed all over the kitchen.
The employees of the pizzeria explained that there was no pest control yet, and therefore they were trying to cope with the problem on their own and catch insects ‘with live bait’, setting traps with poison. This fact will surely please the employees of Russian Federal State Agency for Health and Consumer Rights - eating in such a pizzeria is simply unhygienic and unsafe.
Among other interesting details, there were people wearing outdoor clothes in the kitchen, an inoperative display for cooks, violation of commodity neighborhood in refrigerators, storage of manufacturers' boxes (according to catering standards, boxes must be sorted out), opened boxes without markings. Some frozen products were not labeled either, which means that we cannot even imagine how long they have been there. Some products, by the way, were stored without lids at all.
The editors could not help but pay attention to the dirty dishes left from the previous evening, holes in the ceiling (the pizzeria clearly needs repairs), a complete mess in the warehouse, an open electrical panel, uncovered wires and problems with documents. Unlike Dodo Pizza, we checked their documents and found that the last pest control was in 2019 - now it is clear why there are so many insects in the restaurant. Occupational safety instructions are signed ‘from time to time’.
We should remind our readers that this is a pizzeria of an exemplary franchisee, according to Fedor Ovchinnikov. And therefore, it does not need checks - everything is fine anyway. It is a pity, because the residents of Vyazma deserve a higher level of service. Obviously, for a small town, business owners don't even want to try to do their best.
Well, let's go to Murmansk.
‘Dodo Pizza’ in Murmansk
In Murmansk, the employees of the pizzeria turned out to be less loyal to the inspectors, but, despite their suspicions, they nevertheless let them in without asking for documents and confirmations. But not 10 minutes before the opening , as the rules require - here the restaurant ignores the ‘loyalty time’ and opens exactly at the time indicated on the plate.
At the entrance, our employees immediately noticed the half-torn off Dodo stickers; cobwebs and dirt were in the toilet. Despite the fact that they were the first visitors to the pizzeria, the trash cans turned out to be full - apparently, they had not been thrown out in the evening.
In the kitchen, as expected, things were even worse. In the freezer, many products were unmarked, and some of them were opened. There was no storage date for milk in the bar, and right next to the stove there was a large trash can (according to the rules, it certainly should not be there). For some reason, the vegetables in the refrigerator had no identification marks - no markings on cabbage, peppers and mushrooms. How long have they been there? The list of write-offs was also blank, although the write-offs should have been present. However, a similar situation was observed in almost all checklists - old dates, old information. It was unnecessary to write anything at all, as there were no checks anyway.
There were dirty rags in the staff room. The sink turned out to be full, behind it there were random objects, and the buckets were partially filled with dirty water. The floors were not washed (and the hood had to be cleaned). There was no health record book in the pizzeria either, and an uncovered wire was right on the floor and frightened our inspectors a little.
It is interesting that, according to information from people close to Dodo Pizza, the owners of the Murmansk restaurant Vladislav Ivaschenko and Octavian Nizamov are in very good standing with Fedor Ovchinnikov. So good that they can be considered as buyers of the Moscow pizzerias of Evgeny Tkachev.
After a while, the assistant manager of the pizzeria approached the staff of our editorial office and said that they were not waiting for a check. Allegedly, a certain Alexander Praded, who had already carried out an inspection in October 2020, was supposed to come to the Murmansk ‘Dodo’. If so, then there is a logical question - why is Murmansk aware of the inspection schedule? Shouldn't they be unexpected, or are the franchisees that are ‘close to the owner’ warned about them to have time to get ready?
Dodo Pizza in Anapa and franchisee pressure
And, finally, Anapa. Due to the pandemic, the city has become one of the most visited resorts in Russia - in the summer, there are lots of people here. But now it’s November now, the loads have decreased, which means that the kitchen should be kept in order. Well, it seemed to us that it should be so.
Here is the shortlist of problems: a dirty kitchen, a dirty oven, improper storage of food. There was expired dough in the refrigerator and on the line - poisoning people is definitely a gross violation of food safety. The dough completely without marking was found as well, which means that it can also be expired and should be written off. Such violations in public catering lead to massive poisoning. If such things happen in November, then what happens in the summer?
It turns out that the pizzerias that are called ones of the best are obviously not. Fedor Ovchinnikov demonstratively closes the restaurants, where he finds a gap in the doorplate (as it was the case in Nalchik) or minor violations (as it was the case in Yaroslavl), explaining this by the desire of ‘Dodo Pizza’ to meet the highest quality standards. But he openly closes his eyes to serious violations of friendly franchisees and does not send checks to them to ‘improve conditions’.
As a result, we saw the full-scale result of a lack of control - reliable partners turn into hard-core violators.
Let us tell our readers a little about the franchisees of the above mentioned pizzerias. Sergey Reuk from Anapa owns 25 restaurants in the Krasnodar Territory and Adygea, it was his ‘Dodo Pizza’ that occupied the main resort towns of the Black Sea coast. Vladimir Goretsky from Vyazma is one of the first partners of the network. He has many pizzerias in Moscow, Smolensk, Kaluga, Obninsk and even has an establishment in Polish Warsaw. The partners Vyacheslav Ivaschenko and Octavian Nizamov (Murmansk) are known as the ‘favorites’ of Fedor Ovchinnikov, according to the insiders. They have restaurants in Peterhof, Petrozavodsk, Kronstadt, Belgorod, Lomonosov, as well as in the settlements of Kirishi, Sosnovy Bor, Raduzhny KhMAO, Tikhvin, Shushary etc. According to informed persons, businessmen are not going to stop at this and plan to focus on Ovchinnikov's new shawarma project called ‘Doner 42’. By the way, the founder of ‘Doner’, Magomed Kostoev, has actually lost his business by letting Ovchinnikov share in it. And then the aforementioned Octavian Nazimov completely replaced Kostoev at the post of COO at ‘Doner 42’.
But back to the checks. In reality, it looks as if the fight for cleanliness is just a cover for forcing unpopular franchisees to sell their business on unfavorable terms. The checks of Rusbankrot showed that there were problems in all Dodo establishments, including those that are used as examples. But if all the pizzerias are far from perfect, then why some of them are closed, while the others are allowed to develop and buy up franchisee restaurants ousted from the market? Does not this sound like a collusion and a more modern version of racketeering?
New agreement of ‘Dodo Pizza’ for franchisees
During the preparation of this material, Rusbankrot received information about a new commercial concession agreement for the franchisee (available to the editorial office). Insiders report that the document will be put into operation in the near future.
The agreement differs from the current version by more stringent terms. The lawyers of the International Legal Company got acquainted with the text and told Rusbankrot that now access to Dodo IS (the main program for the work of Dodo Pizza) can be limited not only for violation of the terms of the contract, as it was before, but also for violations of instructions of the copyright holder. For example, access can be limited in case of debt to strategic partners, personnel - if this can lead to a violation of the terms of the contract.
What is more, the franchisees will be disconnected for a ‘harm to the business reputation’ of the copyright holder.
The new document also provides for an irrevocable concession fee, while in the current version of the agreement, there is an opportunity to partially return it. Interesting changes are mentioned in case of termination of the contract with ‘Dodo Pizza’ - the copyright holder will have the right to terminate it after two warnings. Moreover, the copyright holder will receive the right to the first purchase at his own price (almost like the ‘right to the first night’). The owner of franchisee will be able to sell his pizzeria to a third party only after the copyright holder refuses to purchase it. By the way, under the new agreement, the franchisee is also obliged to pay for the transaction of the copyright holder.
At the moment, the franchisee is given 10 days to eliminate violations, however, in the new agreement, the term will become arbitrary - the management company will be able to give the pizzeria 10 days, or 1 hour. Apparently, depending on the personal attitude.
Rusbankrot informants reported that the current partners are concerned about the content of the new version of the document, since the old agreements will soon expire and they will have to sign dubious conditions in absentia.
Insiders also believe that the complicated contract is one of the additional levers to ‘seize’ the businesses.
The depressing state of ‘exemplary’ pizzerias, complaints from the franchisees about attempts to take away their restaurants, a new contract beneficial only to the copyright holder. What game does Fedor Ovchinnikov play? And is not he afraid of a mass exodus of franchisees who do not intend to endure such conditions? We have not received a response from the Dodo Pizza company itself (the request was sent on November 4), so we can only guess about their position on this issue.