For some of us, holiday is a time to rest, take our mind somewhere else, and leave our worries behind. Here are some lessons I learnt while I was on holiday in Spain.
Perseverance is key. I took surfing classes and I could see how other people, younger , fitter and (let’s be honest) thinner, were able to stand up and enjoy being on top of the wave from day one. It took me one week. One week!! However, I will keep working hard to do it again and again because I love it and I will enjoy it in the long run.
I compare myself with these small restaurants that may not have the financial muscle, knowledge or skills that other restaurants have, but passion gets them way further. Often the reason why big restaurants chains end up failing is that they don’t have enough passion driving them.
Opportunity is everywhere. When summer comes the council gives licences that allow different vendors to sell products on the beach, from soft drinks, to beers, crisps and delicious seafood.
One of the advantages of being independent restaurants is that they can react faster to any changes in the market. It has been great seeing how they have done so, by giving discounts during the World Cup to incentivise potential customers that are not interested in football to go out and dine. Also, many restaurants got a license so they could show the games. And I loved seeing so many little cafes and restaurants marketing ice tea. It was very appealing in the massive heat wave we were suffering.
Wrong location analysis can take your business to the grave. It was my mum’s birthday and I wanted to get her flowers. I asked around among the locals and I got the same answer from 5 different people: “ There are none around here. There were 2 and both closed a while ago.” I had to walk 2 kilometres to find a flower shop; it was close to the hospital. Lesson learnt: there was not enough demand for flowers in southern Spain, apparently only for weddings and funerals.
In hospitality, we need to study all sorts of factors when choosing a location: footfall, neighbourhood, do locals go dining, are there offices around for lunch trade. But an important factor if all others are right: is there enough demand for my concept? As an example, I can’t help but think of a fancy pizza place in Lewisham, they had to refurbish and redesign the menu within a year. Diners in that area didn’t want fancy, they just wanted honest traditional pizzas.