18 – 20 February 2020 • Russia • Moscow • Crocus Expo IEC, pav.1

The main capital today is not restaurant premises, but people are inspirers, employees and guests

Natalia Mileenkova, a partner in the management of the restaurateur association UnoDosTres, reveals the interdependence of the concept of the institution and the area of the restaurant.

What is this relationship? How does it change over time?

At the beginning of the development of the Russian public catering market, almost all the norms and concepts were taken from the experience of the recent Soviet past, since the employees themselves - cooks, chefs, middle and top management - overwhelmingly formed their experience in the realities of the Soviet Union.

At that time, the requirements for premises were met in accordance with the standards of the industry of 1950–60, where production facilities, depending on the type of enterprise, accounted for 50–60% of the floor space of the sales area.

In the growing market of the 2000s, several different criteria for the selection of premises were determined:

- location: city center with high pedestrian or car traffic;

- parking and playground for summer cafe. If a restaurant was planned, then parking was included in the list of mandatory requirements;

- number of floors: 1st and 2nd floors with large display windows;

- floor space from 500 to 1500 square meters.

Rental rates in the 2000s were low, so the premises were chosen large.

The area depended on the format of the enterprise. If a classic restaurant was planned, then they would select an area of ​​500 square meters to the production facilities occupied 200-250 square meters, and the number of seats was at least 150.

For network concepts, the area was several times larger, so that the seats were at least 300.

Almost all enterprises were full-cycle, which means that the restaurant / cafe received raw materials (unpeeled vegetables, meat and fish with lumpy semi-finished products, whole fish, etc.).

It was a large number of operations with raw materials that required a large number of warehouses, workshops, refrigerators — that is, the availability of premises. The fashion for the menu-books at the time caused a huge range of raw materials. And the more the turnover was planned, the more space was required, including production.

The main work on the optimization of space at that time was occupied by the optimization of production premises.

So, in 2007, I was given the task of finding a room for the MU-MU cafe on Tverskaya Street in Moscow. It was found, but its area was about 500 square meters (before that, all the cafes of this network, with the exception of one, were from 800 to 1200 square meters).

And in order to get 200 seats in a cafe on Tverskaya, all the resources of the company were used: within two weeks, different layouts were presented, so that the production premises occupied no more than 140 square meters.

At the same time, the only chain cafe at the Aeroport metro station of less than 800 square meters and less than 200 landings (the cafe had 325 square meters of space and only 105 seats) worked effectively for many years with a record turnover of each seat 14-15 times a day to me today!

With the growth of rental rates and the number of catering enterprises, the rules and approaches to the selection of areas changed.

Thus, the company " Shokoladnitsa" went into the premises of 150-200 square meters due to a narrower range of dishes and optimization of production facilities.

Other companies have optimized rental costs at the expense of less attractive areas of Moscow. One of the first in the remote areas went to the network "Tanuki", showing great results in its growth and development: from 2004 to 2008, the company opened more than 35 restaurants.

“Pushkin” became for me the first restaurant that began to change the approach to the use of premises by increasing the turnover of the place. All restaurants counted the main occupancy in the evening. “Pushkin” introduced breakfasts at a time when there was no tradition to eat breakfast outside the home, and this became a real new trend and new approach!

By the onset of the crisis of 2013–14, the optimization of production facilities went through several cycles: network companies built kitchen factories and significantly reduced production areas; reduced menu; new products and semi-finished products that do not require primary processing of raw materials; breakfast and lunch have become the norm; delivery and takeaway began to actively develop.

A fundamental change in the model due to the turnover of the place occurred after 2009. Rental rates by this time reached critical values, accounting for up to 20% of business revenue.

For comparison: in New York and Paris, for example, where the Maison Dellos restaurant company had several restaurants and cafes at that time, the rental share from revenue was rarely 10%. It was lower not only in relative, but in absolute terms.

And in 2013–14, when the prices of products literally increased by 50–70% over several months, high rental rates and large rental payments could not be paid. And the restaurant market has changed the approach and the number of seats.

Today, for example, at the Patriarshy Ponds (Moscow), all restaurants have an average area of ​​200–250 square meters, and the number of landings is from 30 to 70. In the Pinch restaurant, the number of seats is generally less than 30, which allows you to keep the hall constantly filled with guests, and it is impossible to get to the restaurant without an appointment.

The boundaries between the premium and democratic segments began to blur due to the quality author's cuisine with an emphasis on the chef: the average bill in such restaurants is equal to the check of the grid companies.

Similar processes occur in all cities of Russia. In St. Petersburg, for example, on Rubinstein Street, the area of ​​premises is from 100 square meters. This is a real gastronomic street of the country, where an abundance of different formats of copyright cafes and restaurants at reasonable prices enthralls. Revenue in such conditions can be obtained only due to the high turnover of the place.

I was struck by the St. Petersburg bar-takerya El Copitas, which in 2018 took 39th place in the world top The World’s 50 BestBars. The bar has 20 seats, its area is not more than 40–45 square meters, and to get into it, you need to record a few days. Turnaround I do not know for sure, but, as I see, at least 5–6 times a night. There is no breakfast or lunch in this bar, but there is an amazing atmosphere - hospitable, welcoming and sincere. In large rooms it is difficult to achieve such an atmosphere.

What has changed?

In the "zero" model catering were mathematical: more area - more revenue; high average check - lower turnover; low average check is higher. The main success is location and investment, while the amount of investment was directly related to the area.

Now these models are also relevant, but the amount of investment today has become even higher, and the consumer is more demanding and selective.

Consumers have changed: people who have grown up in a market economy have become active, they travel a lot and are looking for a cosy-atmosphere, which is extremely difficult to achieve in large rooms.

Therefore, another model is now more effective - where there is an atmosphere and a high turnover of seats. Therefore, the main criterion in it is the correct idea with the inspiring ideologues, the coincidence of the values ​​of the guests with the values ​​of the concept.

For example, coffee shops that have increased in number over the past 5–7 years occupy an area of ​​5 square meters and have a turnover of 1 million rubles, pubs with craft beer and a small menu - an area of ​​150-200 square meters and a turnover of 5–8 million rubles, burgers - an area of ​​200 square meters and turnover of 10-12 million rubles.

The main investments in such formats are not premises, but people are the founders and inspirers.

Requirements for premises today:

- area: small, depending on the concept - from 5-10 square meters (coffee) to 200-250 square meters (burger, pubs, wine bars). Premises up to 1000 sq. M. meters are rented only by strong operators with strong brands;

- location and number of floors: depends on the concept. If the “food is fuel” format, then placement is necessary on high traffic, where there are large crowds of people;

- parking spaces: irrelevant, except for premium restaurants;

- outdoor grounds: high demand. If there is an outdoor cafe, then the revenue from May to October does not decrease, but grows compared to the cold period.

Summary: the success of the project today does not depend on the location of the premises, nor on a large number of seats. Even millions of investments do not guarantee the project success. Today, the main value is the people, the founders and inspirers, employees and guests. The success of modern projects depends on them!


Natalia Mileenkova has been working in the restaurant business for over 25 years. She was the general director of the Moscow café chain MU-MU, and later the operating director of the whole Andrei Dellos restaurant company Maison Dellos (restaurants Pushkin, Fahrenheit, Turandot, Bochka, Kazbek and others).

She headed the operating service of the restaurant holding company White Rabbit Family (restaurants White Rabbit, Selfie, Technicum, Vokrug Sveta and others).

Currently, Natalya is a co-owner of the NAME restaurant (Moscow) and a partner at the consulting agency UnoDosTres. She is the speaker of many restaurant forums. She teaches at Novikov business school, helps large network companies, holding companies and individual restaurants in improving business efficiency, streamlining business processes, setting up operating activities, developing restaurant projects and advising top officials.

By link - http://restoranoved.ru/articles/osnovnoy-kapital-segodnya-ne-pomescheniya-a-lyudi-vdohnoviteli-sotrudniki-i-gosti/