Mahu, La Mama: Historic Downtown Can't Live With Restaurants And Coffee Shops Alone

05.19.2011 ZF English

Catalin Mahu, who owns La Mama restaurant chain and Cafepedia coffee shops, says he is not feeling any market revival, though the economy has theoretically exited recession, after it rose by 0.6% in the first quarter.

As a result of the financial crisis, the restaurant market dropped by 30-50% both in 2009 and 2010, according to Mahu, who does not provide a total market value as "no real assessment can be made, considering 95% of the market is black or gray." He speaks of stagnation in 2011, which "will allow us to make plans".

As for his business, Mahu hopes for a turnover increase by around 10%. His business, that includes seven La Mama restaurants, three Cafepedia coffee shops and a Charlatans pub, last year generated revenues worth some EUR7 million, flat from 2009.

This year, the businessman has big plans. He is entering the old part of the city, the main pole of attraction for restaurant market players, for the first time. The value of investments revolves around EUR1 million.

Though the old part of Bucharest's downtown has over 100 restaurants, pubs and coffee shops at present, receiving 60,000 persons on each working day and over 100,000 persons at weekends, Mahu says the "historic downtown is used only at 30% of its capacity".

He adds that for it to reach its full potential, it cannot have only restaurants and coffee shops. "Retailers and other players in the services field must also enter. This will happen in the next three to five years, though".


Please fill all required fields!

Your comment was successfully added!

Comments will appear only after the moderation.