This month, CREW-Miami hosted a panel luncheon to find out what’s making Miami’s restaurant scene sizzle. Moderated by The Real Deal’s South Florida Bureau Chief, Eric Kalis, panelists Frank Begrowicz (Associate Director at Cushman & Wakefield), Michael Clements (Owner of American Food Equipment) and Maurizio Farinelli (Owner of Strada in the Grove and Farinelli Restaurant Consulting) shared their thoughts and ingredients for success:
As it turns out, South Florida’s restaurants are fueling the growth of the entire state’s industry. Kalis highlighted in his opening remarks that the National Restaurant Association expects the state to have a sales growth of 4.5% to a total of $34.6 billion this year. Within the next decade, it is expected that 134,600 new jobs will be created in the restaurant industry. Moreover, Miami-Dade County collected $2.25 million from its 1% restaurant food and beverage tax this past March alone.
Here are some insightful tips shared by the panelists:
- Michael Clements shared new trends in restaurant design. While a few years ago exposed kitchens were all the rage, restaurateurs seemed to be moving away from this, he says. These days, it seems diners want to see the show, without having to “deal with the drama.” More and more frequently, restaurants are installing glass and creating semi-exposed kitchen areas.
- Frank Begrowicz spoke about the need to do your research before investing in a space. While the “For lease” sign may say “Restaurant ready,” this may not always be the case. You’ll want to read up on grease traps, kitchen space, and even employee parking allowances before inking a deal, he recommends.
- Maurizio Farinelli had some advice for aspiring restaurateurs. While you may want to open shop in a trendy neighborhood, there’s little space available and the prices are high. It’s better to find a good area that is maybe lacking restaurants with an upscale or unique experience. Create a unique restaurant product, and the buzz will form around you.
The panel concluded with speakers sharing some of their favorite places to grab a bite: Clements claimed Zuma his all-time favorite, while Begrowicz went for the beach-favorite, Pubbelly. When he doesn’t eat at his own restaurant, Farinelli revealed he loves to frequent Xixon.