Adapt or die, the maxim popularized by Darwinism, seems to be the motto of many hoteliers to move forward with their businesses in the most difficult times, especially when there is a lot of competition involved. It is the case of a trend emerged in Madrid with places that seem to compete with the cheapest menu of the day in Spain, but that they are united under the entrepreneurial vision of the man known as the ‘watermelon king’.
There are two bars in Parla and one in Getafe that, for now, are betting more heavily on the most competitive menu of the day format that can be found in Spain. Of course, always with a exclusive price to take away. It is part of the key so that these stores can not only avoid losses, but also achieve some benefit.
The economic crisis that many families and workers have been dragging along since the pandemic, accentuated this last year as a result of the war in Ukraine, with skyrocketing inflation and a shopping basket that does not seem to be starting to drop, has been the spur for some hoteliers who, they say , are having great success with their risky gamble.
The ‘king of the watermelon’, a pioneer from Parla
Carlos Moreno went viral last January when he managed to sell thousands of watermelons for one euro the unit, when this fruit was still very expensive in the markets -it was still missing for its season-. At the end of the summer season, he launched himself with another business idea and the same idea in mind: to take advantage of his experience in the purchase and sale of raw materials to offer prices without competition.
This is how it began with the sale of a simple “anti-inflation” menu of the day made up of two starters and two main courses to choose from, water, bread and fruit for dessert, which quickly also became a success with hundreds of daily sales from his somewhat impromptu local in the industrial Estate of Parla. A place that has just made the leap to a more definitive space in the form of a bar-brewery.
baptized as the sandwich (Avenida Cerro del Rubal 16), the bar thus inaugurated at the end of last summer a take-away restaurant model that has franchiseebased on breakfasts, portions, mixed dishes and rice dishes at very reasonable prices, with a menu to eat at the premises for six euros, with a series of fixed dishes that rotate.
But it is his idea of offering cheap takeaway menus that is seducing many professionals in the area. The claim of the cheapest menu of the day is becoming a relief pathwaynot only for many families, the unemployed and workers, but also for those hoteliers who, in times of crisis, do not end up getting their bills.
The perfect claim for Getafe university students
A few kilometers from El Bocata is La Grotte, the place that has been run since last October by a namesake, whose business did not turn out as well as expected. Open a stone’s throw from the Carlos III University Campus, Charles of the Tower He hoped to attract customers with a very competitive menu of the day -from seven euros- and half a euro for a quality tapa to accompany the drink, but that did not quite work.
The two Carlos already knew each other from the trade and, after speaking with Moreno, de la Torre finished associating with him and other restaurateurs to be able to join the menu of the day model for 3.50 euros.
Prepared daily in the kitchens of the bar-restaurant, the menu at La Grotte consists of four first and four seconds to choose, a dessert that is usually a piece of fruit, a portion of loaf of bread and a bottle of mineral water. The menus rotate daily depending on the genre that they can buy very cheap among several, and are available from Monday to Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The resurrection of Paco’s Bar
Also in Madrid talk we find the last great success of the Community of Madrid, but this time in a more urban environment of the town: the Paco’s Barone of those neighborhood places of a lifetime.
According to Francisco Porrero himself – ‘Paco’ – to Europe Press, the business he runs with his wife, Kelly, was in the doldrums since the end of last year. The escalation of prices with inflation through the roof, the cost of electricity and gas and the decrease in the purchasing power of its clients were leaving their mark on the bar, and the accounts did not finish coming out.
Finally, a few weeks ago they decided to bet on the model led by their neighbor Carlos Moreno with the menu of the day at 3.50 euros. It has been his salvation. From serving just one or two daily menus, they have made the leap to having between 120 and 150 sales dailyalso getting the word out in nearby cities and towns.
In this case they are also offered daily first four and second four to choose, bread, homemade dessert and a 500 ml bottle of water. 3.50 euros is again the price to take away, since it costs seven if you prefer to drink at the bar, but they have even managed to increase this table service thanks to their striking offer, which has relaunched business among residents and visitors.
How do they manage to sell so cheap?
There really is no mystery to how it is possible to offer complete meals at such an affordable price. Is about minimize all costs to adjust the sale price to the minimum, in order to obtain a small benefit but that, when selling in large quantities, ends up paying off. In the case of Bar de Paco, they are about 1.20 euro profit per menu sold, but they also manage to retain customer loyalty and convince others to eat at the premises, spending more.
By associating with several, led by Carlos Moreno, hoteliers can buy fresh ingredients at a minimum cost, thanks to the fact that they are purchased in large quantities and prioritizing perishable food, which must be sold on the day. Some, like Porrero, affirm that they reach agreements with merchants in the area, but “you have to kick a lot” to find the best bargains.
In addition, they save on energy, cleaning and with disposable tableware that does not require subsequent washing, and whose size of the portions is somewhat smaller than the menu that is served on sitewithout forgetting that they can sell more without having to invest in more staff for table service or maintenance.
And what meals are offered on these menus? low cost? Well, the typical thing that one expects to find in the most classic and traditional menu of the day, homemade dishes of a lifetime without complications or filigree: stews and casseroles, legumes, soups, salads, vegetable creams, pasta, meatballs, Saxon chops, rice dishes, wings, chips, fish in batter or in sauce, stew, peas with ham, ratatouille with egg. .. As in the kitchen of any house.
Photos | Giorez – El Bocata – La Grotte – Paco’s Bar
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