The business of HoReCa - "Hotels, Restaurants, Cafes" ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

theatre.jpgIt's perhaps a curious thing to say, but I think a lot of things in life depend on semantics—the meaning of words.

I should actually be calling my blog "Horeca & Retail" Blog, just because the word horeca describes what I want to do so much better. Horeca is an (Dutch afaik) umbrella-term, that describes the businesses mentioned in the title: hotels, restaurant, and cafes.

I picked "food" instead of horeca, because I couldn't find an English term that described what I wanted as well. There's restaurants, gastronomy, cooking, catering, cafes, etc. but all that is too specific. Incidentally, if a knowledgeable Brit, American, or international happens to know an anglo-term as suitable as Horeca, please let me know!

Whenever I discuss my business ideas with my dad (much more inspiring than any internet-based research), we don't talk about food or retail. I begin with that, because that's what I cover in my blog, but the conversation always evolves to how to run a café or some other kind of drink-related entertainment-venue. In other words, we talk "horeca."

Here's some stuff I learned from him (he used to own some bars and cafes):

  • Try to imagine your place as a theatre - you're putting on a show every night.

  • Personality of ownership is important - whenever he was active in this business, he tried to look for good partners: people who understood this world and had certain social qualities.

  • When looking for investors, look for breweries - this is something I'll have to research.

  • Location is not the top-priority for a horeca-venue - people will come if it's worth it.

  • Horeca is a troublesome business - somewhat of a general statement, which I hear from a lot of people. Basically, it suffers from weird people-related issues—lot's of stress, lot's of alcohol, terrible working-conditions, funny contractual agreements, etc. And lot's of businesses go bankrupt (well, what else is new).
How should I summarise this? There are aspects to a horeca-business that are hard to put into words. Atmosphere, taste, entertainment, people-dynamics—how management, employees, investors, customers interact. All that is relevant to starting and running a business in this field, and stuff I'll have to learn.

So, over the next few months, next to continuing to cover certain, universally applicable, retail-topics, I'll try to find out more about how to run entertainment-venues.


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