Here's How Starbucks Is Being Rebranded In Russia

After Starbucks exited Russia at the start of the country's invasion of Ukraine, it was only a matter of time before, like McDonald's, the brand would emerge in a new form — and that time has come. The old Starbucks Russia is now officially the new "Stars Coffee" complete with new management: Russian restaurant owner Anton Pinskiy, rapper Timur Yunusov (aka Timati), along with corporate backing from Sindika, a Russian hospitality management company (per The Wall Street Journal). Stars Coffee announced its presence online with the launch of a new website, proclaiming that "Bucks left. Stars have stayed," and comes months after McDonald's local successor reopened in Russia as "Vkusno i tochka" or "Tasty And That's It."

The turnaround didn't appear to need too much time. After Starbucks terminated its presence in May, Reuters says the region's franchise operator, Kuwait-based Alshaya, had also lost interest in doing business there. The Russian online publication Sostav reported that the deal to buy Starbucks was closed in early August, with competition reportedly tight. Pinskiy told Reuters that "there were a lot of participants" when the tender was offered. Patents for a new name for the chain were filed last week with Russian agency Rospatent, with potential names registered including "Stars Pinskiy Coffee," "Stars Kanokov Coffee," and "Stars Coffee," per Insider. To get packaging ready, workers were asked to replicate branding by using thermal printers, and the new look isn't too different from the original. 

Stars Coffee is reminiscent of Starbucks

Starbucks fans may get a sense of déjà vu when they see the new Stars Coffee logo. It features a woman with a stylized kokoshnik, which is a traditional Russian headdress that DailyArt Magazine says has been around since the 17th century; but the similarity is no accident.

Sostav indicated that Anton Pinskiy wanted the branding to be as close to the original as possible in order to establish "some form of continuity," which included the logo's shape and its use of a "female gender" icon in the logo, per Reuters. But because Starbucks took everything with it when it closed up shop — from recipes to production base — Timati said Stars Coffee was a wholly new enterprise (via The Wall Street Journal). "We just found other suppliers, found the right roasters, and because the baristas mixed it all correctly, we have a product that we think will be competitive," the rapper said.

Even without the power of Starbucks behind it, WSJ said Stars Coffee still pulled together a menu that might be familiar to all Starbucks fans and which offers the usual coffee, pastries, and desserts. And while there is currently just one Stars Coffee in Moscow, its new owners are hoping to eventually reopen all 130 branches, with two or three of the branches to offer up boozy drinks.