I only use my bike to go around Milan; it became a way to track the new openings, but also to discover all the restaurants shutting down (the eternal dilemma of the half empty/full glass).
For one week, I decided to stop my bike and take a picture, each time I was discovering a new definitely closed restaurant.
Since EXPO, the food market accelerated in Milan.
Some places don’t last more than 4 months. A few buildings look even haunted as the owner changes every 4/5 months (think about the building of the fishbar then pizzami and now who already?). I guess on the opposite, the real estate agency business must be pretty sustainable, as they take a significant percentage of the yearly rent each time a new tenant is entering, and considering that a space with “canna fumaria” is usually rent in less than 4 hours if there is no big “buon uscita” required.
Are there really haunted buildings? Is it a way to wash mafias money? Did Instagram and cell phones contribute to food formats speculation?
This can be only a part of the answer.
We must bear in mind the society crisis we are encountering, which is leading a lot of unsatisfied people to pursue their dream and open their own restaurants after quitting their regular job. The issue is that they are often unprepared and won’t consider all the key success factors:
. The market needs, habits, and the importance of the location.
. The monthly fixed costs, the hidden costs and cash flow needs, which are often underestimated.
. The menu, not always studied considering a cost objective and/or an identity.
. The marketing, the service level, often underestimated: how will you make people come to your place or come back knowing all the restaurants to try on the market?
. And last but worse, most of the time, people are not even conscious they don’t have the cooking skills and/or the “taste library “for the local market.
So how can you survive? Well, there is no magic answer.
But besides the costs control and quality choice, with a strong identity, a good marketing /communication and above all, a lot of constant work, you should have a good start.
What you need to know is that you will have to never stop paying attention to the little details, looking for constant innovation and keep training your staff. A place can fell down only in a few months, remember it.
If you ask me what would you choose between a good cook and a good staff for serving. I would definitely opt for good waiters and use simple dishes that can be executed by any cook under training and following a procedure. What is happening during the service is key to create loyalty, unless your format is a fast casual.
And as trattoria Trippa that got every night its booking sold out at midnight one month in advance, some restaurants have to put diner at 50% discount on The Fork to attract customers.
Trippa is the example that well executed food at the right price with a welcoming service, and a hint of hipster social recognition, is a sustainable long term strategy. When some other places will suffer from missing a proper identity, a non-tailored service or, too expensive prices for the "social status" experience you get.
So willing to open a restaurant for 2020? Better have a look at the pictures below before deciding to launch yourself…
Total > 9 restaurant windows captured in a one week random tour: