MOSCOW, July 30 (UPI) -- U.S. coffee house chain Starbucks has said "nyet" to Russia when it comes to smoking in its shops, as it affects the taste of coffee.
"Coffee beans are very porous. They suck in the smoke, which affects the taste," marketing director for Starbucks Russia Lia Dovgun said, The Moscow Times reported Saturday.
The smoking ban, which is rare for a restaurant in Russia, has not stopped Starbucks from expanding in the country. Last month Starbucks opened its 50th restaurant in Russia.
The Times pointed out Starbucks has bent over backwards to fit into cultural niches. In China, it expanded its menu, because the Chinese prefer to eat while drinking coffee. In Greece, more cold drinks are offered, because of the hot weather.
In France, Belgian waffles are on the menu.
Carole Pucik, head of global communications for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said, "We're definitely not trying to change people's behaviors. We're offering something that's a different level of service: friendly service, very high-quality product and a comfortable place to relax."