Between Rentals and Bureaucracy: The Catering Business is Stuff for Real Heroes

novembre 8

We all know it as the “American Dream” – to fly halfway around the world in search of fortune, wealth and future – more often than not (re) starting from zero. It is undeniable that many have realized it, especially restaurant owners and entrepreneurs who, by capitalizing on family traditions and their tricolor taste, have built real food empires in the heart of New York City.

Yet something is changing there too.

It seems, in fact, that the costs of running a restaurant in these wealthy areas are forcing many owners to close or escape. Their main problem? The rent, of course!

For example, an investigation conducted by the New York Times gives us the image that in the Big Apple, anything on an average costs more than twice as that in San Francisco or Los Angeles. And, while many local restaurants exceed 150 square meters, you will rapidly reach considerable expense, often unsustainable with the armatures of recent times.

Moreover, what New Yorkers spend for dining outside the home (about $ 1,200 per year, just for lunch) isn’t really that encouraging. The competition is so high that the number of patrons is dispersed among a cart of hot dogs and a bag of French fries in the new fast food corner.

If we add the cost of staff (a chef in NY earns about $ 50,000 a year, while in San Francisco and Los Angeles, between $ 32,000 – $ 40,000) the incidence of raw materials and the choice to remain independent (without being absorbed by large groups to work on economies of scale) to these calculations, the picture is complete.

In short, the dream creaks a bit, owing to the overall impact of reality.

And yet… yes, there is another and yet, although this view is not exactly rosy, today, many would readily agree to just escape from a more scarier national nightmare – the bureaucracy.


The Registration at the Chamber of Commerce, INPS, Inail, an accountant, a notary (if it is a company), HACCP certificate and related training courses, compulsory registration to CONAI, fee for teaching, fee for occupation of public land, SIAE (if the premises have radio or TV), environmental requirements verification, certificate of prevention, protection and first aid, liquor license, Pence customs agency for possession of a pinball or table football… if you never thought of owning a plan that was ‘safe and well-coordinated’ in case of your local restructuring – you risk heavy fines!

Probably we forgot something and we have not even studied the specificities of regions and municipalities. All said and done, it is indeed a tangle of requirements, often incomprehensible, that in addition to a great expense, also involves time.

The bureaucracy has the extraordinary power to make you feel stupid,” recalls Francesco Margiocco La Stampa.

And nobody likes that feeling.

So here we are, far beyond the distortion of a market or it being particularly odious. You do not even have time to consider the costs of the rent, staff, suppliers who already have the urge to blow it and get away to the top of a mountain and feed on roots and rainwater.

Even the hated French cousins, not far from us, have an easier life!  For example, there are no taxes on signs or the outdoor area and the courses for the HCCP certificate are optional.

Let’s face it – to compete in a free market in which you succumb if you’re not quick to respond to volatile changes is one thing, but spending time to make war on the institutions to justify the 20 centimeters of “occupation of public land “, with all the sacrosanct respect for the rules and the urban decor is quite another.

Fortunately, Italians, for good or for bad, know how to be tough and those who do business in the food or in other industries, prove an uncommon and commendable passion and resilience every single day.

 But for those who just want to look at other opportune markets, there are always the UAE!

Take a look to: The Kitchens of the Future Will Be Full of (App)liances





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