The transparent display case shows potato omelette, croissants and the occasional sandwich. This counter of a small bar in Barcelona, the bar, the stools, the coffee machine and at least one shelf with several bottles of alcohol are the thread that unites it to other establishments of its style. That, and that in the face of the pandemic everyone has been left alone in the face of danger. “Which is autonomous It does not have the same resources or the same options as a company that is prepared with a battery behind it to stop all this & rdquor ;, exposes the owner of a restaurant with 130 years of history in El Born, in Barcelona. “It costs more to negotiate with the owners, for example a rental fee reduction if you are alone & rdquor ;, agrees the person in charge of a bar near Arc de Triomf. And “a chain can afford to tighten the price&rdquor ;, concludes the manager of an establishment in Sant Gervasi.
According to data from the NPD market research group, establishments of its kind have lost 15 points of market share in the last 10 years in favor of restaurant chains: 7 points only in the two years that we have been in the pandemic.
“That of the chains is a problem that comes from afar & rdquor ;, they raise from the Bar Mariona, located in the Ronda Sant Pere. Although the covid has made it more evident, they say, it was already common for a client to choose to eat in a local whose brand was familiar to you and not in a bar about which you have little information.
And this is just one of the problems. “People no longer want to work in a bar, nothing is transferred & rdquor ;, will say behind the bar of another place, this one in the Eixample, a waiter who previously dedicated himself precisely to transfer restaurant premises. “When the owners retire, the children no longer want to take over the business: that’s why more and more Chinese families are in it, because they don’t mind working so many hours and because that way they can be with their family”, explains again the Bar assistant Mariona. She is of Chinese roots. And his aunt, responsible for this place with a long bar, an extensive line of bottles and a double slot machine, too.
Quite a few square meters less, but the same aesthetic is presented by the Bar – Cafeteria Albert’s. Mari, its owner, agrees that when it comes to managing debts they are alone, but the only inconvenience they find is going on their own. On the other side: the ability to know most of your clientele and to be able to offer them an almost familiar treatment. “Sometimes people just want to talk, we almost play psychologists & rdquor ;, he says. And that, in a larger chain, is much more difficult.
Àngels tells a similar story from Plaça Sant Agustí Vell, in the Gothic Quarter. “We have had a very loyal and very grateful clientele, when we opened the doors after the pandemic there was a queue of customers who came to spend whatever it was: I understand that an establishment with less years and ‘caliu’ sank & rdquor ;, analyzes the owner of the Joanet.
Because she hasn’t launched into the ‘delivery’, nor the Albert’s, nor the Mariona, nor the Sant Gervasi premises. And they have all survived, although Àngels, from Joanet, believes that at least his is a particular case: more than a century of history, being able to do without an ICO and having a truly devoted clientele. The proof is that around him, between three and four businesses of the same style, have not been able to count him.