The economic crash of 1998 was a heavy blow to Kato Hetschinof’s pizza business. With all his savings lost, he tried to lure customers with cold-cut platters and hot foods like meat loaf and chicken Parmesan.
But the 42-year-old New York native quickly corrected his lapse of judgment. “I said, ‘Aren’t we were losing focus on the pizza?'” he recalled.
For 13 years, Hetschinof has been all about pizza. When others were selling cold sandwiches and salads, Hetschinof’s mind was on another track because, as he put it, “pizzas are hot.”
Hetschinof, who is now director of operations at his former rival, Jack’s, claims to have formed Moscow’s first-ever pizza delivery service in the summer of 1994.
The American of Russian descent arrived in 1992 with a background in hospitality. While working for DHL in Moscow, he kept running up against the same problem: He couldn’t find a bite that agreed with his taste buds.
“We were limited to McDonald’s, two Pizza Huts, and foods full of mayonnaise and bread crumbs,” he said, between bites of chizburger royal and swigs of vanilla milkshake at the Tretyakovskaya McDonald’s.
Seeing the example of Jack’s, a sandwich delivery service started in 1992 by then-CBS correspondent Jack Brady, Hetschinof decided to start something similar, but with pizzas. “I’m an entrepreneur by spirit,” he said.
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